Care watchdog inspects ‘outstanding’ Northampton home after whistleblower raises concerns during pandemic

A Northampton care home was subject to a ‘targeted inspection’ after a whistleblower expressed concerns.

Burlington Court Care Home, in Roseholme Road, Abington, was inspected by the care regulator – Care Quality Commission – on August 13.

The ‘targeted inspection’, which only addresses the issues raised by the whistleblower including access to masks and hand washing facilities during the pandemic, was published by the watchdog on September 10.

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Burlington Court Care Home was subject to a ‘targeted inspection’ after a whistleblower raised concerns. Photo: Google Maps.

In response to the inspection, the care home manager implemented a number of additional facilities and the home has retained its ‘outstanding’ grading.

The report says: “We undertook this targeted inspection as a result of whistleblowing concerns; we checked the infection control measures and explored issues around staff culture.

“The provider had not ensured there were sufficient facilities available to staff to easily access masks, hand washing facilities and areas to dispose of waste, to control the risk of spread of infection.”

In terms of the care home’s response to the pandemic, inspectors also found a number of well-implemented measures.

The report continues: “People were supported to shield themselves from visitors and isolate as necessary where there was a risk of Covid-19.

“The registered manager was open and transparent and understood where the service still needed to improve.

“Staff felt supported by the registered manager and the management team. Any concerns staff had raised had been addressed and used to improve the service.

“After the inspection we received a comprehensive action plan from the registered manager which demonstrated they had taken immediate action to improve the infection control measures within the home.”

As the inspection was a targeted one in response to specific issues, the ‘outstanding’ rating the care home has held through three full inspections has not changed.

Addressing the issues raised by the whistleblower, CQC inspectors will ‘continue to monitor the service and their progress with their action plan’.

In response to the targeted inspection, the care home was keen to point out the pandemic has brought about the need for additional measures.

Adam Turvey, manager of the Burlington Court, said: “The findings raised concerns over access to masks, hand washing facilities and areas to dispose of waste.

“These were additional requirements for the home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and have never been raised in any previous inspections.

“We had robust infection control and prevention measures in place at the time of the inspection, and these have been improved further as a result of the inspection.”

Addressing each concern, Mr Turvey said ample face masks were available, but it was agreed that storage locations could be improved to allow easier access. This was done on the day of the inspection.

The manager also confirmed that the hand washing facilities had always been found to be adequate, but there were additional requirements due to the pandemic. More units were installed in sluice rooms within 14 days of the inspection.

In regards to waste disposal, Mr Turvey said there were clinical waste bins provided around the home, but some staff had disposed of masks in general waste bins, so additional clinical waste bins have been provided, as well as additional training so waste is disposed of correctly.

Mr Turvey added: “It was a targeted inspection to look at the concerns raised, which could have been increased to a comprehensive inspection had the inspectors found anything of concern; they did not do this as they were satisfied that the service, and the staff and residents, were safe and well cared for.

“Whilst we understand that there were the improvements outlined above, we are pleased that all other aspects impacted on the day were praised including the domain of ‘well led’ which was also looked at by the inspectors and the findings were all positive with no requirements or recommendations.

“As with the social care sector at large, the Covid-19 pandemic has, and continues to be, a challenging period, but we are extremely proud of our staff team and the home, and how it has performed.

“We will continue to do all we can to ensure that our home provides the best possible care to our residents, and that our staff remain safe, healthy, and happy.”

The care home’s next full inspection will not be expected until 2022 – three years after the latetst ‘outstanding’ grade was given at the last full inspection.

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