Fremantle Trust care home earns first Outstanding rating in Buckinghamshire

Steve Flanagan Chief Executive

The Heights nursing home in High Wycombe has become the first service in Buckinghamshire to earn an Outstanding overall rating from CQC.

The home is run by The Fremantle Trust, which operates 11 care homes in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Downley Lodge, a learning disability service that operates alongside The Heights, also earned an Outstanding rating.

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Care home professionals are carefully studying the CQC reports of Outstanding services for clues on how to increase the success rate from around 0.5% of services earning the top rating in England.

The High Wycombe-based sites received an unannounced visit from CQC in January, and was awarded Outstanding for being well-led and responsive. It was rated Good for being safe, effective and caring.

A service needs at least two Outstandings out of five categories to earn the coveted Outstanding overall rating.

Feedback within the report includes comments from residents such as: “I am so happy now, I am cared for and looked after very well,” “Staff know all the residents very well and what they like,” and “I don’t think we can find a better place than this.”

The care services were praised for their investment in supporting training and development, with the Trust also being complimented for its BTEC course in dementia training,  previously recognised by social care recruitment and development specialists, Skills for Care.

The report also highlighted examples where employees had “gone above and beyond the call of duty to fulfil some people’s wishes and dreams.”

Commenting on the success, Steve Flanagan, chief executive of The Fremantle Trust (pictured above), said: “We are extremely proud that The Heights has been recognised by CQC as the first Outstanding care home in Buckinghamshire. The rating also applies to Downley Lodge, the learning disability service we provide at this location. It is testament to our commitment to providing exemplary care and reflects the work of a dedicated team who consistently go the extra mile, reflecting the ethos of The Fremantle Trust.”

Deborah Ivanova, Interim Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, CQC (South Central and South Coast) said: “We found that the Heights was providing an outstanding service to the people it supported. We were struck by the extent to which the service places the people it supports at the heart of everything it does. While this should be standard practice across the sector, we do not see it often enough – and this, amongst other good practice found, is why this service deserves the outstanding rating which has been awarded.

“The support provided was designed not just to meet people’s individual needs, but also foster good, close relationships and enhance interpersonal skills. A caring, friendly and close bond is evident between people and the staff. The quality of staff providing services is a key to the quality of a service overall.  At the Heights the investment in staff training and development coupled with support from the registered manager and the provider has resulted in an outstanding service which provides consistent and reliable care”

Mike Appleyard, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing said: “This outstanding result is well earned. It reflects the scale of work over years by the many people who have contributed to it, not least the staff, who have gone beyond the job spec to contribute to this outcome.

“Congratulations to the whole of the Fremantle enterprise for demonstrating that we are well able to deliver outstanding services to vulnerable people in Bucks, and in the face of significant budgetary pressures.”

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