Lack of improvements a ‘cause for concern’

Inspectors have said a home care provider’s failure to tackle issues raised three months before their most recent visit is a ‘cause for concern’.

Allied Healthcare’s Scottish Borders service, based in Hawick, had been given six requirements for improvements in March, along with two recommendations.

However, at a visit in mid-June, inspectors from the Care Inspectorate found that none had been fully carried out.

In their report, only made public last week, the inspectors said: “The failure of the service to ensure requirements are met is a cause for concern.”

During their inspection, Dave Hutchinson and Pauline Davidson found that visits were still being cut short, and issues with personal care plans and problems with staffing levels continued.

As well as repeating the improvements required from the March inspection, the pair made another two requirements of the service, which they graded ‘weak’.

Despite the ongoing issues, they did find that the service was performing well in other areas.

They stated: “The service is at its strongest where staff have established a positive rapport and working relationship with the people who used the service and their relatives.”

The inspectors added: “We did find examples of positive care and positive comments made by people who used the service and their relatives.

“These comments were, however, not consistent and for some individuals and their carers the experience of using the service was mixed, with individuals expressing concerns that staff could be late, rushed, and that the consistency of care deteriorated at weekend.”

The inspection highlighted that no travel time was worked into schedules, which meant visits were sometimes missed entirely. The inspectors also found ‘poor and incomplete’ recording of missed visits and ‘illegible’ records for the service’s out-of-hours system.

A spokeswoman for Allied Healthcare said: “We are pleased that the Care Inspectorate has identified that the branch has made many improvements since the last inspection.”

She added: “Our research shows that the people that we provide care to in this area believe the quality of their care is good, however, we recognise that further improvements are needed.

“We continue to work closely with both the Care Inspectorate and the local authority. We have shared our comprehensive action plan with them and we are confident that further significant improvements will be seen at the next inspection.”

The service provides care at home to adults living in Roxburghshire and Berwickshire.