Burgess Hill care home apologises after being rated ‘inadequate’

Sussex news
Sussex news

A care home in Burgess Hill - criticised by health regulators and rated ‘inadequate’ - has apologised for its failings.

Firgrove Nursing Home in Keymer Road - which is now in ‘special measures’ - provides accommodation and care for up to 35 elderly people, some of whom have dementia.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission made a spot check on the home in September last year and later expressed concerns over staff recruitment. Another check was made in December.

The commission had previously rated the care home as ‘requiring improvement’ when it carried out an inspection in 2017. On that occasion, the commission said that people’s social needs were not being met and they were at risk of social isolation; consent to care and treatment was not always sought and documented and there was a failure in some systems for monitoring standards and quality.

The commission said, in a report out this month, that the latest inspection had shown some improvements had been made, but “there remained areas of significant concern. We did not find these inconsistencies had impacted on the safety of people, but these demonstrated shortfalls in quality monitoring and management oversight.”

Rating Firgrove ‘inadequate’ overall, the commission rated the home ‘good’ in its care.

The home, run by a company called Firgrove Care Home, this week apologised for the rating. Company spokesman Paul Blatherwick said: “Our residents have always enjoyed the best life experience within the comfort and safety of this care home.

“It should be noted that the safety of our residents has never been compromised and has so far remained the priority of this service. The Care Quality Commission has also confirmed that this service delivers good care to its residents although there are failures in two out of five key regulations.”

He said the company had “taken immediate steps to hire a care consultant, an administrator and new manager to bring about the required positive changes to this service.”

He added that care homes in Sussex faced an acute shortage of nurses coupled with rising staff costs and poor funding of social care by local authorities which “made it hard to maintain the bottom line.”

Firgrove, he said, had traditionally funded a safer level of nursing and care staff rather than administrative staff “which is the main cause of the failures.

“This service had also frozen its residential charges over the last three years to help its long-term residents get more for their money. In the face of this recent report, the attitude needs to change to a more effective system of information to evidence the good care provided at this service which can only be achieved by additional funding of non-clinical staff to ensure compliance.”

He said Firgrove had recently started refurbishment to provide better facilities for residents and the the company was “investing in its workforce through continuous staff training to meet the care needs of its residents.

“There is a full-time activity co-ordinator but the service will hire additional ancillary staff to promote the social welfare of its residents through more recreative activities.”

He said a company director had met with all residents and next-of-kin to reassure them about the future of Firgrove and promised to develop a new management team to make Firgrove the best care home in the area.

He added: “We wish to thank the members of staff, the residents and their friends and relatives and healthcare professionals who supported Firgrove Nursing Home in these difficult times.”