Tribunal backs CQC enforcement action against Sussex Health Care
A Tribunal has ruled in favour of enforcement action taken by the CQC against Sussex Health Care (SHC).
The ruling came after SHC had appealed against the CQC’s decision to require the operator to provide monthly reports on all its services until further notice.
A police investigation is being carried out into 12 deaths at SHC services (see Police probe Sussex Health Care deaths). The CQC said it has continued to find concerns about the quality of services provided by SHC and its failure to deal with the risks to people in its care.
Judge Siobhan Goodrich, said: “The matters found on inspection that gave rise to the imposition of the conditions were serious. Some improvements have been noted, in some areas and in some locations, on recent inspections, but there are still serious concerns about the services provided at the vast majority of the locations. In our view the concerns are real, entrenched and current.”
Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Andrea Sutcliffe, welcomed the ruling, adding: “Since April 2017, our inspections have found a pattern of poor care in many of the care homes provided by Sussex Health Care. The services have been deteriorating, people have been put at risk, and the provider has been slow to respond to incidents or deal with people’s healthcare needs.
“Following this judgement by the First-tier Tribunal, we have imposed conditions on all their remaining services to ensure that the residents are safe, and receiving the standard of care that everyone has the right to expect.”
Andrea cited one SHC care home service removed from the care register where inspectors found risks from choking, lack of access to their call bells, falls, poor hydration management, improper use of pressure-relieving equipment and poor staff practice that went unchallenged by the managers.
A SHC spokesperson said: “We accept the tribunal findings that recognises the work and investment we are undertaking to continue to improve our services. The findings highlight the commitment of our senior management to deliver enhanced care and support and our capacity as an organisation to implement effective change. We are pleased to have cemented a strong relationship with the CQC through this process and will be working closely with them in the coming period.”