CQC Calls On Castlebeck To Make Improvements

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told the Castlebeck Care Group that it has serious concerns about four of the services run by the group, and that a further seven do not fully comply with essential standards of quality and safety.

In the four cases where serious concerns have been raised enforcement action is to be taken.

The CQC have reviewed and inspected all the services provided by Castlebeck at its 24 locations in England. One of these, Winterbourne View, recently documented on BBC's Panorama programme, has already been closed following regulatory action.

The inspections revealed a number of concerns across Castlebeck’s services for people with learning disabilities.

Of the 23 Castlebeck services which were reviewed: Inspectors found serious concerns at four services; A further seven services were failing to comply with one or more essential standards; and 12 services were compliant with the essential standards which were reviewed.

As well as finding a range of failings in individual services, CQC has looked across those services to identify company-wide themes. These include: Lack of training for staff; Inadequate staffing levels; Poor care planning; Failure to notify relevant authorities of safeguarding incidents; and failure to involve people in decisions about their own care.

Inspectors visited two homes as part of routine programme inspections in early in 2011. The full review of all Castlebeck services began after Panorama had gathered evidence over several months to show serious abuse of patients at Winterbourne View.

The inspections focused on safeguarding the care and welfare of the people who use the services provided. Where inspectors identified concerns, measures were put in place to address the problems and to ensure the safety of people using the services. Where immediate concerns were felt for people’s safety action was taken to safeguard those people.

A CQC team made unannounced sites visit to all locations. Staff were supported by people with specialist expertise where specific issues were identified, for example in relation to the management of medicines and, in the cases of detained patients, Mental Health Act Commissioners.

A national panel was set up to consider the outcomes of each of the reviews and to identify any common elements which would require further examination of the provider’s overall performance. Issues that emerged included inadequate quality assurance systems and lack of clarity about how local systems feed into the corporate and governance systems. There was no evidence that any evaluation took place corporately of any changes that had been implemented.

The Care Quality Commission Chief Executive, Cynthia Bower, said: “We need to be clear: we have not found problems on the same scale as were found at Winterbourne View.

“However – we do have serious concerns at four locations in particular. In these cases we are taking action, although for legal reasons we cannot go into detail at this time. We will report fully later.

Our inspections have found a range of problems, many of which are found in a number of different services. This clearly suggests that there are problems that Castlebeck needs to address at a corporate level – the company needs to make root and branch improvements to its services and processes.

“Where necessary, we have demanded improvements. Where we have had immediate concerns about people’s safety we have taken action. In the case of Winterbourne View we took action which led to its closure.”


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