Staffing levels at care homes slammed

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A company running a Houghton Regis care home has been told it needs to improve.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected Redhouse Court in Houghton Regis, along with two homes in Leighton Buzzard and Ampthill, run by Creative Support.

Inspectors were told by a relative in one home: “This is an accident waiting to happen. Carers are trying their best but people are being put at risk.”

The report says not enough is being done by senior managers to recruit staff, often leaving the homes short staffed.

The report states: “We looked at staffing rotas for the three schemes and found that the service was consistently understaffed. In two of the schemes there were regularly three or four people working across the morning and evening shifts.

“However in the Lavender Court (Ampthill) we found that on occasions the service ran with only two staff available due to unplanned, short notice absence of staff due to sickness.”

A member of staff also commented: “We try our hardest but people are at risk because of this [lack of staffing].”

Duty rotas revealed that on occasion two staff had been required to work alone which the CQC said left staff unable to respond to emergences.

Senior managers told inspectors they had been unable to address the recruitment of staff quickly.

A company spokesman said: “The CQC carried out an inspection of our three Extra Care services in central Bedfordshire. Whilst there are many positive comments in the report regarding the caring and responsive nature of the service, there were areas which were noted as requiring improvement in relation to the recruitment and training of staff and a Registered Manager. Since then we have successfully recruited a Registered Manager and a number of extra care workers and supported the service with extra training resources. We have found recruitment of care staff to be very challenging in Bedfordshire in recent months, particularly in the Ampthill area.

“We are very pleased with the appointments we have made and feel that the service has benefited greatly from the extra managerial support.”