A closed nursing home has been rated ‘inadequate’ after significant failings were identified in all five areas of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) new inspection criteria.
Inspectors found the Merok Park nursing home in Banstead, Surrey, was so short staffed that, at times, there had only been one nurse on duty to look after the 27 residents.
Not all staff had received a criminal records check and there was no evidence that all nurses were registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the inspection found.
The home was rated ‘inadequate’ in each of the five key lines of enquiry, after failing to provide care that was safe, caring, responsive, effective or well-led.
The failings are likely to compound concerns that the quality of care in nursing homes is falling behind other settings – the CQC’s most recent State of Care report found one in five services did not have enough staff to ensure safe care for residents.
Failure to improve
Owners Mr and Mrs S Cooppen had not taken steps to improve Merok Park, despite concerns raised by the watchdog during two unannounced visits and three other visits in November and December 2014. The CQC subsequently cancelled the provider’s registration and the home was closed on 9 December.
Other failings identified included staff working over 50 hours a week, an overpowering smell of urine, and residents being washed in cold water due to broken taps.
Staff also demonstrated rough behaviour towards residents, failed to notice when they did not eat their lunch and ignored people who were in distress.
They had also not received training in infection control and soiled clinical waste was left in open bags in a bathroom, which posed a serious health risk.
Adrian Hughes, deputy chief inspector of adult social care for the CQC, said the quality of care was ‘simply unacceptable’ and the owners had allowed the home to deteriorate to such an extent that residents were exposed to risk of harm.
“When the concerns were brought to the provider’s attention they failed to take action to improve the situation,” he said. “The environmental and staffing issues could have been quickly remedied but the providers were unwilling or unable to take the necessary action.”
The CQC, Surrey County Council and NHS Surrey Downs clinical commissioning group (CCG) worked with families to arrange alternative accommodation by 9 December.
Helen Blunden, designated nurse for safeguarding vulnerable adults at the Surrey Downs CCG, said: “As soon as the CQC confirmed that a closure notice would be served, a multi-agency team informed relatives and began the process of transferring residents to new homes.
“The CCG is confident that all safeguarding procedures were followed in the transport of patients. All residents were moved safely, with the appropriate care and attention, with both clinical and safeguarding professionals on site throughout.”