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Three Kent care homes close following CQC action 

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Three Kent care homes have been closed after the CQC cancelled their registrations following inspections.

Optima Care’s Eastry Villas and The Gate House in Eastry, near Sandwich and Optima Care Limited in Herne Bay have been closed after the CQC removed their registration, while Shine Supported Living and Heron House in Herne Bay remain open despite no longer operating as care homes.

Debbie Ivanova, CQC’s deputy chief inspector for people with a learning disability and autistic people, said: “It was clear during our inspections particularly of Gate House and Eastry Villas that some staff including senior management did not have the skills or expertise to provide support and care to people living in these homes especially those with complex needs. Neither did staff have the skills to manage people’s distress and the resulting behaviours.

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“We found evidence of abuse, closed cultures, unlawful use of restraint and a deprivation of people’s liberties across these services. It was clear that these homes were not a pleasant place to live, and vulnerable people were relying on staff to act as their advocates, and this simply wasn’t happening. We have rated each of these homes as inadequate and have prevented them from operating a regulated service – to protect people.”

Clair Bell, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said Kent County Council along with Medway Council and Kent Clinical Commissioning Group had provided significant support to help Optima Group make improvements but the provider had “failed to heed advice and take action”.

Clair added: “Like the CQC, we are very aware this has been a worrying time for residents, their families and carers and want everyone to be assured that the good care of the most vulnerable in our communities is a priority. All residents at the three closed homes have been safely re-located.”

Louise Orr, Managing Director, Optima Care said: “We were deeply concerned and saddened by the CQC findings at the start of 2021, which showed that our standards had deteriorated compared with much more positive findings of earlier inspections.

“We have a zero tolerance approach to the kind of behaviour outlined in the original CQC report and we took immediate action following the inspections. This included taking the decision to close the three homes and bringing in a new management team to oversee the improvements requested. We also worked with Kent County Council to find new placements for the people who lived in Eastry Villas, Gate House and Spenser Road, where alleged abuse happened, and we took appropriate measures against staff members implicated in the reports.

“We also decided to de-register the other two services that were rated inadequate at the start of 2021. We continue to work in partnership with Kent County Council in an open and transparent way to ensure these services return to the standards we expect.

“All of the services rated below ‘good’ are now in the advanced stages of improvement and we are confident that the situation is no longer reflective of the reports at the time. We have already been reinspected by CQC at two of our services where they have acknowledged improvements across all areas, and they are no longer rated inadequate.

“We have taken other significant actions over the past six months to improve the management of these services, including providing additional training and support to the staff still employed by Optima Care. We want to ensure that incidents like those highlighted by CQC can never happen again and have engaged external consultants in supporting the oversight and development of quality assurance and improvement. Optima Care have employed a previous CQC Director, who was also the chair of the British Institute for Learning Disability, to support the services moving forward in providing quality person centred care.”

Tags : Care Home ClosureCQCOptima Care
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The author Lee Peart

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