Stockton care home given one-star hygiene rating is 'taking action' to improve standards

Norton's Primrose Court nursing home looks after vulnerable adults, the elderly, and people with dementia. Credit: Terry Blackburn

A Stockton care home told major improvements are needed in its food hygiene standards has insisted it has taken steps to turn things around.

Norton's Primrose Court nursing home was given a one-star food hygiene rating after Stockton Council inspectors visited in late May.

The South Road site looks after vulnerable adults, the elderly, and people with dementia.

The inspectors' report found the home needed to improve the hygiene of its food handling and the cleanliness of its facilities.

It also deemed major improvements were required in how food safety was managed, with systems and checks to ensure food was safe to eat, and better evidence of staff knowing about food safety.

Nursing home officials responded saying they had changed the kitchen staff after three visits from environmental health teams, with a string of kitchen audits rolled out.

Compliance officer Fameeda Lennon said the rating it was given was "not acceptable" and outlined the action the home had taken.

The home employee said: "We have spoken to our local authority. The kitchen still remains open as a result of increased kitchen audits we are doing at the moment.

"The whole staffing structure has been revamped. The manager is taking the lead."

Ms Lennon explained the home's kitchen had remained open on the back of the environmental health visits and was "fully functional" with audits in place and an action plan had been created which had been shared with all parties involved.

She added: "The manager is working towards that to ensure all food safety measures are put in place - she is doing daily checks."

She also said the home provided services to vulnerable people and the inspection had prompted "significant improvements" shown during the three environmental health visits.

The Norton home is managed by Bharathi Panjadka and owned by Vinod Hukkeri, with spaces for up to 54 people.

It was told it required improvement overall by the Care Quality Commission in September 2020, although it was rated "good" for its caring qualities.

Ms Lennon added the home was seeking a reinspection soon, and hoped a new rating would "reflect the standards now".

Cllr Norma Stephenson, Stockton cabinet member for access and community safety, said: "Our environmental health officers have been working with the food business operator and staff at Primrose Court to help them follow their action plan to address the issues raised during the inspection and improve hygiene standards."

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