Care provider considers action after inadequate CQC rating

A Leyton care provider is considering taking the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to court after receiving the lowest possible rating.

Verity Healthcare Ltd provides at-home care, and has two London-based branches – one in Church Road, Leyton and another in Haringey. Both were rated “inadequate” after inspections on March 22.

The CQC’s report on the Leyton branch, published on July 2, reported care jobs requiring two people were frequently left to one, and that one manager was “aggressive and rude”.

A spokesperson for Verity Healthcare said it is “incredibly disappointed” but takes “some exceptions to the report findings” and is requesting a review of its rating.

The CQC’s report reads: “There were numerous occasions where people who required two care workers only had one care worker and this was confirmed when we looked at care records.

“We also received negative feedback from people and their relatives that care worker punctuality and consistency was not always reliable. This had a negative impact on the quality and safe delivery of care.”

The inspectors looked at care records from March 1-25 and found that one service user who needed two carers was cared for by a lone employee on 43 out of 100 visits.

One relative told inspectors they were regularly “having to act as the second carer”, which the inspectors noted “meant people were at risk of unsafe care”.

The CQC report also claims Verity Healthcare managers “showed a lack of accountability when we raised concerns, placing the blame on others, including service users and their families”.

They added: “People and their relatives provided mixed feedback about the management of the service, with an overwhelming emphasis on poor communication and unprofessionalism, especially in relation to one of the registered managers.

“Feedback from professionals such as the local authority was also that one of the registered managers was aggressive and difficult to work with.”

The service’s inadequate rating means it has been placed into special measures, and could be closed down if it fails to improve within six months.

A Verity Healthcare spokesperson has said that it “will urgently address all the issues raised” and hopes to return to its previous “good” rating as soon as possible.

They said: “This is an exceedingly challenging time for everyone working in the social care sector. The COVID pandemic has impacted on… almost every service provider and Verity Healthcare has not been exempt.

“That said, we do take some exceptions to the report findings and… are requesting rating review, and a possible judicial review.

“We had informed the CQC that a senior member of the leadership team had been ill for seven months but the inspection progressed at both sites and took place on the same day.

“The stand-in manager was not aware of where certain documentation and service reports had been stored and, as a result, these could not be made available to the CQC at the time.

“Regardless of this, we take the findings of the report very seriously and, as stated, we will address all concerns raised as a matter of extreme urgency.”

Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter