I wonder how bad a care home has to be to have definitive action taken against it. I came across this story in the Liverpool Echo referring to St Michael’s Manor Nursing Home in Woolton, near Liverpool.
The home received ‘zero stars’ for food hygiene. The article explains that milk had been left out of the fridge for over a day and that dairy products were not kept in appropriately temperate-controlled environments. One doesn’t have to be a genius to appreciate that this could actually be very dangerous in a nursing home environment.
The inspectors found
A fridge-freezer was faulty, staff were not fully trained or supervised and stock rotation was inadequate.
Inspectors said they had “no confidence” in management, saying there was: “Poor track record of compliance; little or no technical knowledge; little or no appreciation of hazards or quality control; no food safety management system.”
The listing on the Liverpool City Council website can be found here.
The article goes on to relate an unconnected story about the same care home where a resident, Mary Potter (89) died in 2008 ‘after being hit by chunks of plaster when the lounge ceiling collapsed.’ Not only that but – ‘It emerged there was a flood in the room above the ceiling a few days before it collapsed.’
Now, a jury gave a verdict of accidental death in this case and that’s fine and well but it does leave an uneasy feeling about whether the death could possibly have been prevented.
Back to the food hygiene issues though, for me, one of the most telling aspects of this is that it was the not the CQC (Care Quality Commission) that picked up these serious and major failings but the local authority food hygiene inspectors.
I decided to look up St Michael’s Manor on the CQC website. The only care home in Woolton that it may be seems to be listed as ‘St Michael’s Mount’ – but on the basis that it is the same location, same postcode and has the same owner, I can only assume there may be some discrepancy in the name listed between the Liverpool City Council website and the CQC website.
The concerning thing is that this home managed to be ‘excellent’ and receive three stars which remain evident on the CQC website despite the fact that these ‘star’ ratings are now defunct.
So did things change so much that the CQC inspectors weren’t able to identify issues that the food hygiene inspectors slated so categorically?
If I were living in Woolton and looked up the CQC website I’d be delighted that a home such as this exists so locally.
What kind of consistent service of inspection and regulation can be CQC provide and what lessons does this teach us? Rhetorical questions for the moment but it leaves a taste of very sour milk in my mouth.