By Kris Jepson
Exclusive: The Care Quality Commission has downgraded the rating of Allied Healthcare’s Middlesbrough service from “Good” to “Requires Improvement”, following an inspection in November.
The social care regulator brought forward the inspection after receiving “a number of safeguarding concerns which had been raised about the service following the closure of their Redcar branch”.
One former Allied carer told ITV News Tyne Tees she reported a series of safeguarding concerns to every level of management at the company, “with nothing done”, so she took her complaints to the CQC. She alleged that people’s lives were being put at risk, saying “at its very worst, it could possibly have led to death”.
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Speaking exclusively to ITV News the former Allied carer said “the staffing issue was so bad at one point, we had people coming from out the area from agencies who didn’t know our customers”.
The home care provider in Middlesbrough had its rating downgraded in all areas, including safety of service, effectiveness of service, how caring the service is, how responsive the service is and how well led the service is.
The CQC found that Allied Healthcare Middlesbrough had breached two national regulations involving “safe care and treatment” and “good governance”, because it:
did not ensure that care and treatment was provided to service users in a safe way
did not have suitable systems in place to assess the risks to the health and safety of service users of receiving care or treatment
did not have suitable systems in place to ensure the proper and safe management of medicines
did not have the effective systems in place to assess, monitor and improve the quality and safety of the services provided. Quality audits were not being carried out in accordance to the providers own quality assurance standards
did not maintain accurate and contemporaneous records in respect of each service user, including record of care and treatment provided to the service user and decisions taken in relation to the care and treatment provided.
At the time of inspection on 1 November, the CQC says 168 people were using the service; 153 people living in the Middlesbrough area and 15 in the Redcar area.
Most of the care packages in the Redcar area had already been removed by the local authority, who were forced to step in to provide care during the August Bank Holiday weekend after Allied allegedly failed to service 190 home care visits.
The previous inspection that took place resulted in a rating of “Good” in April 2017. However, the today’s CQC report stated “at this inspection we found the service had deteriorated and rated the service as requires improvement”.
The CQC gave Allied 48 hours notice before sending in the inspectors. The CQC report acknowledged that the provider had “started to make improvements”. It stated that office management felt “things had settled down” after most of the Redcar packages had been removed by the local authority and that supervisors felt that the current workload was now “manageable” and they could now “provide the care people needed”.
ITV News spoke to two families who had lodged safeguarding complaints to the company and the CQC.
Mike Bailey, from Marske, said his wife, Christine, who has terminal cancer, was visited in July by a carer who was drunk. Mike says he had little respite as he had to monitor the care his wife was receiving.
Mike said he had little respite as he had to monitor the care his wife was receiving.
He said “depending on the carer, it got to the stage where I used to stand in the doorway and watch them. You would have to go in and probably do extra things that they hadn’t done. They’re not dealing with people, they’re dealing with a product and that’s the attitude. You can actually see it. It’s ‘what’s good for us’.”
Margaret Clarke told ITV News her mother-in-law, also called Margaret, was left in an unlocked house following a visit from an Allied carer.
Margaret Clarke has vascular dementia and is now in a care home.