OSJCT staff complain of inspection ‘gagging order’

Staff at a home run by The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) have complained of a ‘gagging order’ imposed by managers ahead of a recent CQC inspection.

The staff at Athelstan House in Malmesbury, Wiltshire told inspectors they felt confident to raise concerns externally but did not always feel confident to do this to the management of the home.

During an inspection in May, which rated the home Requires Improvement, three carers said they had been told: ‘CQC are coming and that they were to portray that they were not understaffed and that they had all the required equipment.’”

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Another member of staff said: “We have been gagged not to say the truth, but we will tell.”

Eleven staff came forward during the inspection to raise their concerns about the service, which related to staffing levels, equipment and the quality of food.

The CQC commented: “The feedback from staff demonstrated that the systems and processes in place to safeguard people from potential improper treatment or abuse were not working effectively.”

Assistant Operations Director Aaron Whitehead at OSJCT commented: “We accept the findings of the report.

“Following on from the inspection and prior to publication of this report, we appointed a new management team, both at Home Manager and Area Manager level, to address the concerns raised by the inspectors.  We are working closely with the CQC to address all of the issues highlighted in their report in a timely fashion.

Residents and their relatives have been reassured that their loved ones are safe and well cared for at Athelstan House and we encourage them to talk to the Home Manager at any time if they have any concerns.”

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