Abuse claims at Mexborough care home

Cllr Andy Pickering outside Highgrove Nursing Home, West Road, Mexborough. Picture: Andrew Roe
Cllr Andy Pickering outside Highgrove Nursing Home, West Road, Mexborough. Picture: Andrew Roe

Care bosses were asked to investigate 15 separate allegations of abuse at a Mexborough care home in the space of three months, a report has revealed.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission said Doncaster Council had “undertaken preliminary investigations into 15 allegations of abuse” at Highgrove Manor Care Home between February and April this year.

The watchdog also revealed management broke the law by failing to report any of the alleged incidents to the CQC.

This was just one area or concern highlighted in a damning report by inspectors following an unannounced visit to the 78-bed West Road home in May.

They have now issued three formal warnings and ordered care home owners, Crown Care, to take ‘immediate action’ to improve – or face hefty fines and even possible closure. Crown Care said work is underway to boost standards.

Debbie Westhead, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector of adult social care in the north, said: “We’ve identified a number of serious issues which the provider needs to put right immediately. It is unacceptable that the provider is failing to meet the basic care needs of people living at the home.”

Mexborough woman Sandra Rogerson was so shocked by the report she is now looking at moving her mother-in-law Suzie, who celebrated her 100th birthday there last week, to another home.

The 68-year-old former care home cook said: “It makes me worried sick for my mother-in-law.”

Inspectors ruled staff were failing to provide “safe, effective, caring, responsive or well led” services.

They issued formal warnings in three areas, covering residents’ ‘care and welfare’, ‘safeguarding people from abuse’ and ‘management of medicines’. Action is also needed to improve ‘staffing’ and ‘respecting and involving’ residents.

Inspectors said: “People who use the service were not always protected from the risk of abuse, because the provider had not taken reasonable steps to identify the possibility of abuse and prevent abuse from happening.”

Details about the 15 abuse allegations were not given, but the report said none had been reported to the CQC as the manager was “not aware of the legal requirement to notify the commission.”

Inspectors checked 12 residents’ care records and concluded staff had failed to take proper steps to ensure they were “protected against the risks of receiving care or treatment that is inappropriate or unsafe.”

Residents were also “not protected against the risks associated with medicines” because the provider did not have appropriate arrangements in place. Concern was also raised about a resident who stood up during meal times but was told by staff to “sit down, eat your dinner” in a brusque manner.

A spokeswoman for the CQC said inspectors will visit again soon. She added the watchdog can impose fines of £4000 and has the power to close care homes.

Mexborough councillor Andy Pickering said: “I’m shocked and disgusted at the failures highlighted.”

In a statement, Crown Care said they are working with the council and CQC to improve.

It described the warning notices as ‘disappointing and disproportionate,’ adding: “We are pleased with the progress that has been made to date but recognise there is room for further improvement to ensure the home meets the needs of all service users all of the time. We will continue to work with CQC and DMBC to ensure the highest possible standards of care are achieved.“

It is understood a new manager has taken over at the care home.

A Doncaster Council spokesman said the authority is not aware of any active criminal proceedings.

Dave Hamilton, director of adults, health and wellbeing, confirmed the care home’s progress will be “monitored closely”.