A Four Seasons Health Care home in Thamesmead has been stripped of an Outstanding rating earned just a year ago and placed under embargo by the Care Quality Commission.
Marlborough Court, which is home to up to 78 people, was downgraded from Outstanding to Inadequate following an unannounced inspection at the end of April.
In a conference call accompanying its first quarter financial results, Four Seasons Health Care said that improving profits at the company were largely due to a considerable drop in homes under embargo from 20 in January 2015 to just three this year.
Embargoes do not simply damage the reputation locally of a care home operator, they can cost an operator upward of £500,000 as occupancy drops and remedial action is taken to turn the home around.
Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, signed off on the decision to place the home under embargo. “We were so concerned that people living there were at risk of harm that we have taken urgent action to restrict any further admissions and to ensure that staff get the training they need as a matter of urgency.
“If the provider fails to comply – we will take further enforcement action to protect the interests of the people in their care.”
The inspection at Marlborough Court followed the resignation of the home’s registered manager, which was followed by other staff leaving the service. Between December last year and April 2016, a total of 23 staff members left the care home, according to local newspaper reports.
CQC places enormous importance on having the best possible senior team in place. “Within a few months of the home losing their senior staff, more staff departed and the quality of care has deteriorated to unacceptable levels,” Ms Sutcliffe noted. “This must be addressed to improve the quality of life for their residents.”
A spokesman for Marlborough Court told local news outlet News Shopper: “The wellbeing of people in our care is our first consideration and so we were very disappointed and sorry that Marlborough Court had slipped from its very high standards.
“The inspection took place at a time of transition, with a new home manager having just taken up post and who was recruiting to build the care team after a number of staff had left.
“Since then we have been working hard implementing a comprehensive improvement plan and have made progress in carrying out the inspector’s requirements and recommendations.”