A home care provider which looks after the elderly and vulnerable across Stamford, Bourne and the Deepings has been heavily criticised for the second time in a year by a healthcare regulatory body.
The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) report from April 2017 into the services provided by Bloomsbury Home Care, based in Bourne, deems it to require improvement.
Amongst the criticisms raised by the CQC report was “that the service was not consistently safe or well led and that medicines were not managed in the right way.”
In some cases it says “people were not getting the support to eat and drink enough.”
This is the second time Bloomsbury Home Care, which got a contract from Lincolnshire County Council in 2015, has been deemed to require improvement by the CQC.
The first time was following a report in July 2016.
Last year the service promised to make the necessary improvements by the end of December 2016.
This week Bloomsbury chief executive Nick Christodoulou said the service had significantly improved since last year and claimed that it would get better in the coming months.
The latest report by the CQC - the independent regulator of health and social care in England - says problems still exist.
The CQC report splits down into five categories - safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.
Under safe the service was found to not be consistently safe and medicines not always managed in the right way.
It found that care staff were not always available to promptly provide people with all the care they needed or that people were not fully assisted to avoid preventable accidents.
It did however state that people were safeguarded from risk of abuse and that background checks were made on new staff before they were employed.
Under its effective status the service was not found to be consistently effective and people were not supported enough to eat and drink sufficiently, while some care staff had not been given the guidance needed to care for people in the right way.
Inspectors did though find people were supported to make their own decisions and where this was not possible decisions were made in their best interests. Care staff also helped people to obtain any healthcare services they needed.
The CQC also deemed the service not consistently responsive and people could not always contact the service when something was wrong.
It added that people did not always receive the care that met their expectations but did say that care had been provided in a flexible way to allow people to make choices about what they wanted to do.
Leadership was not found to be consistently good and quality checks did not always reliably result in a problem being put right quickly.
People were invited to comment on the service but the suggestions were not always implemented while some staff said processes used to organise their work need improving.
Care staff though were encouraged to speak out if they had any concerns about how a patient was being treated while people had benefited from staff acting upon good practice guidance.
The caring section was the only part of the Bloomsbury Home Care service which was not labelled requires improvement - it was rated good.
It was praised for being caring, treating people with kindness and respect and keeping confidential information private.
The report also praised Bloomsbury for its staff promoting people’s dignity and respecting their privacy.
A CQC spokesman told the Mercury: “We continue to monitor this service and will be checking their action plan. We will also carry out further inspections to check what improvements have been made.
“If they got worse on next inspection, we’d rate them as inadequate and they’d be placed into special measures.”
Mr Christodoulou told the Mercury that “good progress” had been made since the CQC report in 2016, admitting there were problems with staff numbers at the start of the council contract.
He added: “We have to show that the improvement is sustainable and there will be a follow up report by the CQC in a few weeks.
“We believe that the issues have been addressed and that we are moving in the right direction but we have to consistenly work at it.
“We are a far, far better service than we used to be.”
He said staff had more support now but that it was inevitable that they could be late for some appointments but said issues like this should be at a minimum. He stated that the carer should always contact the resident concerned to inform them of the hold up.
Pete Sidgwick, assistant director of adult social care at the county council, said the Bloomsbury had “demonstrated improvement”.
He added: “We have received a number of compliments regarding the service, and are working closely with Bloomsbury to support them in making continued improvements.”