Care agency criticised by health watchdogs

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An agency that provides healthcare support to people in their own homes in Horsham, Henfield and Pulborough has been criticised by health watchdogs.

Caremark, based in Pulborough, was rated as ‘requiring improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission following a visit by inspectors last month.

Breaches of regulations regarding medicines, staffing levels, staff training and support were found at a previous inspection in April last year.

But in a report out this week, the commission said that the latest inspection showed that there had been improvement in how the service was managed and delivered.

New staff had been recruited and the breach in relation to staffing numbers was met. The inspectors said: “We found, however, that further work was needed to make and sustain progress in the areas of medicines management and staff training and support.”

At the time of the latest visit Caremark was supporting 112 people, including six children, with personal care.

The commission’s report stated: “People were at risk because guidance for staff on the support they required with their medicines was sometimes missing or inconsistent.

“Records of the medicines administered to people contained gaps where staff had not always signed to confirm that people had received their prescribed medicines.

“Some people did not have a care plan in their home and other care plans did not reflect the person’s current needs. This meant that staff would not have accurate information to refer to and put people at risk of receiving inappropriate or unsafe care.

“People and staff told us that there had been an improvement in recent months and that reviews had been taking place.”

The commission said, however, that patients spoke highly of the staff and said they were treated with dignity and respect.

Although rated overall as ‘requiring improvement’, Caremark was rated ‘good’ in categories of caring and leadership.

Care manager Mary Dearie said: “We welcome the comments made by the Care Quality Commission in relation to our recent inspection last month. Whilst we achieved a rating of ‘Requires Improvement’ in some areas and ‘Good’ in others, we were overall, pleased with the positive comments we received on the improvements we have made to our service since our last inspection in 2015.

“We acknowledge we need to continue working to improve our service and look forward to doing so. Our ethos is always to strive for excellence and this we shall continue to do to ensure our clients receive the very best care and support and that our dedicated staff are enabled to deliver a high quality, compassionate service which reflects our brand.”