Seven Blackpool homes under scrutiny over care fears

Care Quality Commission

Care Quality Commission

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Seven homes for the elderly in Blackpool are currently under council scrutiny amid fears about the level of care.

Karen Smith, director of adult social services at Blackpool Council, told councillors that a robust monitoring programme was in place to ensure residents were being properly looked after.

That’s not a decision taken very often and very lightly but in a situation where a provider is not demonstrating an ability to sort things out and get things back onto an adequate setting, that is one of the options open to us

Karen Smith

A report to the Resilient Communities Scrutiny Committee says there are five homes subject to enhanced monitoring, and two where the council has suspended new placements “due to ongoing performance issues”.

She added that officers were working closely with the establishments about future commissioning of services.

Ms Smith told the meeting; “It is not within our powers to close places down but we can make notice to cease our contact.

“That’s not a decision taken very often and very lightly but in a situation where a provider is not demonstrating an ability to sort things out and get things back onto an adequate setting, that is one of the options open to us.

“We work very closely with the CQC (Care Quality Commission).

“We don’t solely rely on CQC information and vice-versa but we work very closely.”

She said the two homes ‘on suspension’ meant the council was not using them for new admissions, but she added “we wouldn’t leave people in an unsafe setting”.

Blackpool currently has 80 registered residential and nursing care homes offering around 1,700 places between them.

At any one time there are up to 100 vacancies.

Ms Smith said forums had been set up to help homes share best practice and make sure they were aware of all the legislation.

She said: “It can be difficult to get providers who are in competition with each other working together, but that’s why the forum is in place.

“It is absolutely the case that the requirements on social care are greater than they ever were in relation to more people with complex conditions”.

In April the Orchard Lodge Care Home on Lytham Road,South Shore, was criticised by inspectors from the CQC after inspectors found locks on the outside of people’s bedrooms.

Their report branded the home “inadequate”.

The Tudor Manor on Clifton Drive closed last summer following a number of difficulties.

This included an inspection by CQC in March last year which highlighted concerns around “safeguarding people who use services from abuse” and “management of medicines”.

The CQC said the council’s own monitoring programme was a key element in ensuring people in care homes in Blackpool were properly looked after.

A spokesman said: “The Care Quality Commission does not regulate health and adult social care in isolation.

“We work in partnership with a number of organisations and regulatory bodies including local authorities who have a role to play in monitoring the quality of care they commission locally.

“We share information in order to respond quickly when we identify risk to people’s safety and welfare.”