Hartlepool Borough Council vows to see care home ratings improve

The former Admiral Court Care Home. Picture by FRANK REID
The former Admiral Court Care Home. Picture by FRANK REID

A councillor says the authority will work with care homes and regulators to improve poor ratings of a large proportion of homes in Hartlepool.

Just under half of care homes inspected so far under a new Care Quality Commission regime are classed as inadequate or requiring improvement.

Stephen Thomas  Labour

Stephen Thomas Labour

Out of 11 homes that have been inspected since April last year, three are rated Inadequate, two as Requiring Improvement and six as Good by the CQC which is the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England.

Four other homes have yet to be inspected.

Councillor Stephen Thomas, chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s adult services committee, said: “The information we have got is the situation with our homes does need to improve.

“The local authority is going to do everything it can to work with the homes and Care Quality Commission and HealthWatch to make sure we do turn this situation around.”

The information we have got is the situation with our homes does need to improve

Councillor Stephen Thomas

Jill Harrison, assistant director of adult services, told the committee the council is still experiencing pressure on home places following the closures of Highnam Hall last October and Parkview and Four Winds homes in January.

Four homes are also not taking any new residents at the moment. They are Manor Park, Dinsdale Lodge, Clifton House and Lindisfarne.

But Ms Harrison reported that Admiral Court, in Cleveland Road, which was shut down last June after the CQC found a number of failings, has been sold to a new provider.

She added: “A number of providers are interested in operating care homes and are at various stages of the planning process.”

Coun Thomas said it was important the type of care provided in new homes matched the needs of people.

Coun Sylvia Tempest asked for an update on investigations around the council providing its own homes.

“We provide our own children’s homes and don’t see why we can’t provide care homes, start with one and go from there.”
Ms Harrison said officers were looking into it and a report is due to be presented to the committee in September.

As of Monday, June 13, there were 21 care home vacancies across town.

Regarding a need for more specialist nursing care places, Coun Thomas said: “It still remains an issue and must be something high up on the commissioners’ agenda to address in the coming months and years.”

The committee heard about various pieces of work involving the council, homes and clinical commissioning group which commissions nursing care.

They include monthly meetings to flag up any concerns early and agree a co-ordinated response.