Residents moved out of Northamptonshire care home after two 'inadequate' ratings as manager claims unfair treatment

The manager said the business struggled with the 'increasing bureaucratic nature' of running a care home

By Megan Hillery
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 11:14 am

A Northamptonshire care home has closed after two 'inadequate' ratings following inspections by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Westgate House, situated in Eastcote Road in the village of Gayton was inspected by the CQC in November 2021 and a report published the following month rated it as 'inadequate' for the second time in a row following a previous inspection in July 2021.

The CQC has confirmed to The Chronicle & Echo that West Northamptonshire Council and the Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group (NCCC) has since moved all residents at Westgate House to alternative care providers indefinitely.

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Westgate House in Gayton, Northamptonshire.

The CQC report found that safeguarding procedures were not consistently followed, unexplained injuries were not always investigated and physical interventions were not always appropriately recorded.

It said that people 'were put at risk' and residents did not always receive their medications as prescribed and preventing infections required further improvement.

Care home staff had not received up to date training and told inspectors that they did not feel involved in the running or improving of the service. People were additionally not asked to feed back on the service.

Manager of Westgate House, Darrell John Byrom, said: "Firstly, Westgate House would like to apologise to the residents, families and staff impacted by the closure of the nursing home.

"That said, we do not believe we were fairly treated by the authorities. Westgate House was a home that catered for many patients with challenging behaviours. The needs were complex and were met by a dedicated and caring workforce.

"CQC is inspecting processes rather than outcomes for individuals. Our paperwork had slipped during the pandemic and we were not quick enough to get it back to where it should be."

The report did, however, add that there was a sufficient number of care home staff on duty during the inspection, staff had been safely recruited and the care home 'appeared cleaner' but government guidance on preventing the spread of Covid-19 was not always followed.

Mr Byrom told The Chronicle & Echo that the care home struggled with the 'increasing bureaucratic nature' of running a care home with additional daily reporting required by authorities for the capacity tracker, reporting on staff and patient testing, paperwork for vaccinations with consent needed for all patients and visitor restrictions that 'were not welcome by anyone.'

He continued: "It is fair to say that staff who had been on the front line since the beginning of the pandemic with no let-up were in need of help but got intense scrutiny instead.

"Patients admitted on end of life were nursed back to health, patients admitted with pressure ulcers had then cleared up - Westgate house had a PU incident rate of three percent compared with the average for nursing homes in the East Midlands is 7.9 percent.

"A patient with severe cognitive impairment and many associated issues, including huge weight loss prior to admission, was putting on weight and much calmer in our care.

"None of this mattered to CQC. Our care strategy was high risk in that we worked hard to give people the least restrictive care and did not nurse in bed or isolate. But it was working."

A previous inspection carried out in July 2021 was prompted by concerns raised about cleanliness, oversight, records and safeguarding. Westgate House was found to be in breach of three regulations and was given an 'inadequate' rating.

The latest report states that no improvements have since been made so the care home remains under 'special measures'. This means the CQC will keep the service under review and, if the watchdog does not propose to cancel the provider’s registration, another inspection will be carried out within six months to check for significant improvements.

Other previous inspections carried out in November 2020, February 2020 and September 2019 rated the service as 'requires improvement'.

Westgate House was given a 'good' rating by the CQC in an inspection carried out in June 2016 - just under six years ago.

Mr Byrom added: "We put patients before paperwork. The closure was a heavy price to pay for our patients some of whom had called Westgate Home for many years. Relatives were given no choice with the threat of losing funding if they were not moved.

"Some 50 staff have lost their jobs and our livelihood has been taken away."

A spokesperson from the CQC said: “We are aware that everyone living at Westgate House in Northampton has moved to alternative services, with support from the local authority and clinical commissioning group (CCG).

“CQC’s latest inspection for Westgate House was published on December 23, 2021, and the care home was rated as inadequate overall.

"At this inspection, we identified breaches in several areas, and full information about CQC's regulatory response to these concerns will be added to the report after any representations and appeals have been concluded.”

To read the full report, visit the CQC website.