A CARE watchdog has issued a formal warning to a private homecare firm after inspectors discovered a range of failings.
Partners in Specialist Care, based on Hartlepool’s Queens Meadow Business Park, failed to consistently provide care to its clients at appropriate times of the day and some care visits were missed, Care Quality Commission (CQC) officials discovered.
The regulator has ordered that the company, based in the Innovation Centre, make urgent improvements or face further action after it failed to provide an effective system to identify and respond appropriately to complaints and comments from people using the service, or people acting on their behalf, said the CQC.
Inspectors were concerned that it had taken more than 10 weeks to investigate and respond to some of the complaints, despite a company policy of responding within three weeks.
Where complaints had been logged as received, records did not always indicate that these had been investigated or responded to, and people using the service as well as staff told inspectors that they had raised concerns but that these had not been addressed.
Partners in Specialist Care bosses say they are already taking heed of the CQC’s recommendations.
Sheila Grant, CQC compliance lead for the North-East, said: “The law says that these are the standards that everyone should be able to expect. Providers have a duty to ensure they are compliant.
“This warning sends a clear and public message that Partners in Specialist Care needs to address these issues as a matter of urgency or face serious consequences.
“Our inspectors will conduct a follow-up review in the near future and if we find that the agency is not making the required progress we won’t hesitate to use our legal powers to protect the people using this service.”
If the required improvements are not made, the CQC has a range of enforcement powers which include restricting the services offered, or in the most serious cases, suspending or cancelling a service.
The warning follows unannounced visits by inspectors on April 30 and May 11.
Inspectors examined a sample of care records and also spoke to staff, people who use the service and their relatives.
Mo Nazir, managing director of Partners in Specialist Care, said: “Nothing is more important to us than providing high-quality care for the individuals we support and we take our responsibilities extremely seriously, which is why we were very disappointed with the CQC’s latest findings.
“In response to concerns raised by the CQC, we have developed a thorough action plan to address suggested areas for improvement.
“We are working closely with our staff to implement the plan as a matter of urgency and consequently, many of the CQC’s comments have already been acted upon.”
Mr Nazir added that all the company’s care plans have since been updated and new staff have been taken on to ensure high quality care.
Partners in Specialist Care provides care at home for adults and children with specialist and complex needs.