Shropshire Star

Care company sacks entire team after staff found sleeping instead of monitoring patient

A care company has sacked an entire team after some staff were found to be sleeping on the job when they should have been monitoring a patient.

Last updated
Fairway Homecare's head office on Duke Street, Sutton Coldfield. Picture: Google

Fairway Homecare was rated as 'inadequate' for safety in a Care Quality Commision (CQC) report on March 28. Based in Sutton Coldfield, the care provider also offers services across the Black Country and Shropshire - in locations such as Walsall and Telford, with an office in the latter.

As well as staff supposed to be in charge of taking care of someone with a serious illness were found asleep, inspectors also reported that the service was "not safe" and "not always caring".

The previous inspection found that the care company 'required improvement', a rating that has since dropped to 'inadequate' after a number of faults were found in their service, including a lack of training, unsafe practice, and inconsistencies.

After speaking to relatives, patients, and employees at Fairway, it was revealed that, in some cases, carers were preparing medicines incorrectly and not recording a patient's epileptic seizures. Relatives of one patient told inspectors they had to explain their loved one's needs to staff, who they said "did not always know" about their condition.

On their visit, inspectors were told by another relative that the staff who supported their loved ones were found sleeping on shift. The person required monitoring at night, and the inspectors concluded that the staff being asleep put the person at "significant risk of harm".

The critical report said: "Allegations of abuse were not always reported or investigated. We found incidents or concerns about people's safety had not been acted upon. For example, the provider hadn't taken enough action to safeguard a person who had an unexplained injury. The provider hadn't raised the matter with the local authority as a safeguarding alert and no records relating to the incident were kept. This put people at risk of ongoing potential abuse."

The investigation also found that not all of the staff had completed training in safeguarding patients. Although it was reported that staff "understood the need" to report any concerns of abuse, they were "unclear" on how to record these matters.

In other areas, the report found that the staff were knowledgeable about patients food and drink preferences and mealtime routines.

Following their inspection, the service is now in special measures, meaning it will be kept under review to ensure "significant improvements" are being made. For adult social care services, the maximum time for being in special measures will usually be no more than 12 months.

Bosses at the company said they were "gutted" by the report which 'does not reflect any of the enormous amount of good work they do' and that the majority of their care workers do an "incredible" job, although they admitted they had been rightly called to account for some of the issues.

Fairway management said they had already identified shortcomings and replaced the staff providing the criticised service, but hadn't had time to fully implement the improvements.

Alex O’Neill, the company's operations director, said: "We are extremely disappointed with the report however we welcome the feedback and support from CQC and have already made significant strides to rectify the findings.

"We acted swiftly when we discovered that the management of the service fell below our high standards and expectations and it led to the dismissal and removal of the entire management and supervision team involved in the domiciliary care service some 10 weeks before the inspection took place."

Mr O'Neill said a new service manager and team had been recruited, adding: "The special measures that have been applied mirror exactly the action plan that was already agreed, approved and was being implemented.

"To date some 500+ pages of evidence show massive improvement and we will continue to make hugely positive strides very quickly.

"It is a massive disappointment that the previous team allowed standards to slip as it was simply inexcusable. Every resource in terms of IT, Recruitment, Training and administration was made available but basic people management shortcomings led to the shortfall in basic principles.

"We acted swiftly and are in the process of rebuilding, sadly the inspection came before we had chance to evidence the work that was under way."