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Pair of Thetford care homes run by the Royal Mencap Society placed in special measures after inadequate Care Quality Commission rating

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Two care homes in Thetford have been rated inadequate and placed in special measures following inspections in March.

The services, Foxglove and Daisy on Lambert's in the town, are run by the Royal Mencap Society and care for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

The inspections were carried out after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) received several concerns around staffing levels and the way medicines were managed.

Lambert's, Thetford, where the two care homes are based. Picture: Google maps
Lambert's, Thetford, where the two care homes are based. Picture: Google maps

Following CQC inspections, which identified issues with care in both instances, the services are now in special measures and remain under review to ensure residents safety.

They will also be inspected within six months to assess whether improvements have been made.

Both care homes were rated inadequate for being safe and well-led. They were also rated 'requires improvement' for being effective, caring and responsive to people's needs.

At Daisy, people prone to choking were found to be eating unsupervised. There was also not enough staff to support a person who needed regular repositioning.

Inspectors also found poor cleanliness impacted people’s standards of living, and infection risks were not well controlled.

Insufficient staffing levels and staff shortages were cited as the cause of many issues within the establishments.

They added that behind the issues was a 'lack of strong leadership' and said leaders also had 'poor oversight of staff training and competence'.

Deborah Ivanova, CQC director for people with a learning disability and autistic people, said:“The care being provided to people at both these services was inadequate and fell way below the standards that people should expect.

"People’s lives were restricted, and they were not able to experience full and rewarding lives. This is not acceptable.

“We found that premises weren’t always clean and well-maintained, and that there weren’t enough trained staff to keep people safe. Staff shortages affected the quality of care that people received and exposed them to increased risk of harm.

“We have raised our concerns with the Royal Mencap Society and both services will be supported to ensure people are safe and improvements are made.

“We will monitor the homes closely, and we will not allow them to provide a service to people if we’re not assured people living at the service can be well cared for.”

Inspectors did find that staff treated people with compassion and kindness, respected resident privacy and allowed residents to express their individuality.

One person told inspectors they were able to attend church, which meant they could keep in contact with people they’d known for a long time.

John Cowman, Chief Operating Officer at learning disability charity, Mencap said: “We want to apologise to the people who live in Daisy and Foxglove and their families, and to our colleagues who work so hard to support them. We have let you down and are very sorry. Clearly, we must do better.

"Following this rating, we have met with families to discuss the changes needed and have already implemented many of the improvements recommended in the report. We hope to see a positive outcome at our next inspection.

"This is the first inadequate CQC rating Mencap has had in decades of providing services, and we intend for it to be the last.

"Prior to this, 97% of Mencap’s services were rated as good or outstanding. As a charity and service provider we are committed to delivering high-quality services that enable the 1.5 million people in the UK living with a learning disability, to live better lives.”

The care homes will be reviewed again in six months time. For more information visit the CQC website.