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Inspectors give Downham Market homecare agency 'inadequate' rating

A Downham homecare agency service has been rated as 'inadequate' following an inspection in February.

Carers Elite, which is based in High Street, was given the rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and is now in special measures.

Inspectors found the service to be inadequate in two areas, safety and well-led, and requiring improvement in three, effectiveness, caring and responsive.

Carers Elite in High Street, Downham Market. (2125828)
Carers Elite in High Street, Downham Market. (2125828)

Jonathon Lofthouse, manager of Carers Elite, said a number of changes have been implemented since the inspection, and he described the report as a "mere fly in the ointment of a strong and well-functioning business".

A statement on their website says Carers Elite is a "specialist local family-run independent care provider, with the specific purpose of providing a first-class service to all of our clients".

It adds: "Our professional co-workers are given all the tools and ongoing training to deliver excellent client care and they are all committed to delivering the best care service that is never compromised."

According to the report, CQC inspectors said they found a "number of breaches" of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, and said they are "taking action" against the provider for failing to meet these regulations.

The breaches related to person-centred care, safe care and treatment of people using their service, complaints, good governance of the service, staffing and fit and proper persons employed.

The report goes on to say that risks to people's health were not always identified, the number of staff available and their deployment was not effective in ensuring people's needs were met in a timely way, and staff training and checks of their competency had not been fully completed.

"Staff were kind and caring but did not always respect professional boundaries."

It adds that staff sought people's consent before providing them with support, but "promoted and encouraged" people to be as independent as possible.

"People's care plans did not contain accurate, up-to-date or clear information for staff to help ensure that they provided a safe and good standard of care and support to people.

"People's preferences had not always been identified so that staff could provide care in the way people wanted."

The report says most people told them they felt safe when receiving care in their own home, but the service "was not safe" overall.

Mr Lofthouse, who launched Carers Elite in 2015, said: "We have implemented the relevant changes and look forward to the CQC's return.

"This is a mere fly in the ointment of what I see as a strong and well-functioning business with wonderful service users and staff."

Mr Lofthouse said the changes include further training, additional staff, and employee appraisals.

He said they have been "working closely" with the CQC since the inspection.

"The inspector said he could see we had made a lot of changes within the business,"he added.

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