Home care group Connected Health has issued an apology for failures in local leadership and systems after its branch in Cheshire was rated ‘Inadequate’ by the CQC.
Connected Health Plus, based in Widnes, was rated ‘Inadequate’ for being safe and well-led and placed into special measures following an inspection in June.
The CQC said in its report that service users did not receive their medicines, including antibiotics and blood thinners, safely and as prescribed, and that the provider did not have clear information or understanding of people’s individual medication needs.
Staffing levels and rota systems were also deemed to be “unsafe” by the regulator, with care workers turning up to client’s homes early, late, or missing visits altogether, meaning people were not safeguarded from risk of neglect.
During the inspection, the CQC found evidence of extensive “call-cramming”, meaning staff were scheduled to be at multiple calls at the same time, or back-to back calls without any time for travel.
Connected Health Plus’ systems to assess, monitor and improve the quality and safety of service being provided were also found to be inadequate, and the regulator noted that it had not been notified of all “significant events” which had occurred.
Hayley Moore, CQC’s head of adult social care inspection, commented: “During our inspection of Connected Health Plus in Widnes, we were disappointed to find people were not receiving the safe and timely care they deserve.
“The provider’s approach to call cramming meant it was inevitable people’s care needs would not be safely and effectively met or not met at all. Inspectors were told staff were often late or missed calls completely which could put people at risk of harm.
“We were also concerned to find a number of safeguarding concerns that had not been reported to us, and there was no evidence that any action had been taken to investigate these concerns.”
Ryan Williams (pictured left), group director of Connected Health, which has offices in the UK and Ireland, has issued an apology following the publication of the CQC report and explained that the majority of weaknesses identified by the regulator had been addressed.
He said: “On behalf of Connected Health I personally acknowledge and accept the wholly unsatisfactory level of care identified in the CQC report. The failings identified by the CQC report do not reflect our group-wide commitment to the highest levels of homecare standards and we unreservedly apologise for this failure in local leadership and systems. The ethos of our business is centred around the health and happiness of the older people we care for and in this instance our central ethos has been tarnished.”
Williams added: “Like many providers the pandemic placed our service under immense pressure, and despite a CQC rating of ‘Good’ across all five inspected areas in March 2021, our leadership team in Liverpool failed to identify and address a number of weaknesses across the delivery of care within a small number of council areas.
“Once these issues were identified by the CQC the management team from our business took swift and robust action to address these concerns, review and implement a programme of improvement and add in additional layers of governance and compliance to ensure an ongoing journey of improvement – and back to the high standards we have set ourselves.
“We are pleased to report that the majority of weaknesses identified by the CQC have already been addressed with ongoing improvement core to our action. The improvement approach involved appointing a range of new critical leadership positions within Liverpool, radical re-training of all staff and most critically ongoing communication with our clients and their next of kin. We are confident of bringing our Widnes office back into line with the high quality and governance standards set by our group.”