Hartlepool council bosses ‘disappointed’ after rise in care homes rated ‘requires improvement’

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

An increase in care homes rated as ‘requiring improvement’ by a health watchdog in Hartlepool is ‘disappointing’ according to council bosses.

A Hartlepool Borough Council’s adult and community based services committee report has found six of the 16 adult care homes in the area have been rated ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The remainder of the care homes in the area are currently rated ‘good’, meaning no homes are rated as the lowest possible rating of ‘inadequate’ or the highest ‘outstanding’.

However, council bosses have expressed disappointment that two homes previously rated ‘good’ have dropped to ‘requires improvement’ and that one of two recently opened care homes received the same rating.

The report from Jill Harrison, director of adult and community based services, said the council has identified care home provision for older people as a priority.

It said: “There continues to be significant risks associated with availability of sufficient care home places for older people.

“The increase in homes rated as requiring improvement is disappointing after a significant improvement in ratings over the previous twelve months.

“The council remains committed to supporting further improvements in care quality through the Care Quality Improvement Programme for 2018/19 which has been reported to committee previously and will continue to support all care home providers to deliver the best possible outcomes for local people.”

Homes rated as ‘requires improvement’ have action plans that are closely monitored by officers to ensure improvements are made.

However, council bosses said two new care homes opening in the past two years, Rossmere Park Care Centre in May 2017 and De Bruce Court in February 2018, have provided ‘much needed additional capacity and choice’ in the area.

The report said this has resulted in a reduction in out of town placements and also had a positive impact in terms of facilitating timely hospital discharge.

For 2017/18 there has been 26 admissions for out of town placements, compared to 51 the previous year.

As part of the update into improving care provision for older people ‘manager forums’ will continue to be held in the area to provide staff with support on a variety of health topics.

Council care bosses are also in the middle of scheduled visits to all care homes in Hartlepool to check how they are performing and to look for ideas for improvements.

A further update on the topic will be received by the council adult and community based services committee in six months.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service