Providers with ‘inadequate’ care homes under fire over profits


Sussex Health Care’s Kingsmead Lodge was one of the ‘inadequate’ homes highlighted by The Guardian

Care home providers have come under fire for posting healthy reports despite some of their services being rated ‘inadequate’.

Guardian analysis of CQC data found that 44 out of 220 care homes rated inadequate were owned by companies making a combined £113m pre-tax profit.

Barbara Keeley, the shadow minister for social care, said: “It is simply unacceptable that both taxpayers and self-funders are collectively paying millions for the worst standards of care while the shareholders and directors of care home companies pocket enormous profits.”

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Issues found at the homes included: elderly residents soiling themselves after being left along because of staff shortages; staff using “inappropriate and disproportionate” physical restraint; patients being left for long periods; carers failing to treat elderly residents with dignity and respect; and residents being placed at risk of abuse by other patients.

Homes were run by Minster Care Group, Sussex Health Care (SHC), Bupa and Runwood Homes were amongst those identified by the investigation.

A Minster Care Group spokesperson, whose Mulberry Manor, is rated inadequate, said: “We have not profited from any inadequate rating – whenever a home is deemed inadequate it is extremely challenging to make profit as local authorities and private customers are less likely to use it, and it requires considerably more management resources to bring it back up to standard.”

Chelmunds Court and Elizabeth House, which are operated by Runwood Homes, were among the other homes spotlighted.

Gavin O’Hare-Connolly, the chief operating officer of Runwood Homes, said: “We recognise the difficult period noted by two of our services and took immediate and robust action to address any shortfall.

“As an organisation we have an overall ‘good’ CQC rating and have a number of services rated ‘outstanding’. We invest significantly across all of our services, staff and environments to provide quality care as standard.”

Rebecca Pearson, operations director for Bupa care services, whose Ashley Lodge and Meadbank services were also highlighted, said 80% of the firm’s 135 care homes were rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

She added: “Two homes are rated ‘inadequate’ and we immediately appointed dedicated quality teams to lead improvements in the homes. Ashley Lodge was previously rated ‘good’, however, the departure of the home manager and other staff had a knock-on effect across the home.  We’ve already seen significant improvements since a new manager joined and we’re confident the next rating with reflect this.  Meadbank is going through a rating review as the CQC originally rated it ‘requires improvement’.

“We’re committed to providing all of our residents with high quality care across our 135 homes.  Over the past year we’ve invested over £28m in our care homes, on top of staff training and development and we’ll continue to invest further.”

Sussex Health Care (SHC), whose Kingsmead Lodge and The Laurels also featured in the report, said it was “simply incorrect to state that the homes highlighted, which are individual homes within two multi-home groups, are generating the levels of profit suggested”.


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