Unreliable care service in Fife criticised by inspectors

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Report to council labels two providers as ‘weak’

Two care providers in Fife have been graded "weak" for the quality of their care.

Fife Council’s south and west Fife area committee studied an annual report which gave an update on Care Inspectorate grades awarded to both homes and providers in the area.

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Care homes were graded out of six - with 6 being "excellent" and 1, "unsatisfactory".

Whilst the majority fell between marks of four and six, two were graded at two - meaning major action was required.

Avenue Care and Care Plus both received low grades.

Their un-announced inspections were carried out prior to lockdown - Care Plus took place in February, and Avenue Care last July.

Issues with Avenue Care included on too many occasions, people did not get their care, as staff did not visit their homes when scheduled to do so.

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People interviewed by the inspectorate also commented that they did not feel confident about the reliability of the service and were then significantly and negatively affected.

Many of those interviewed said the issues were not with carers, but instead with major critical weaknesses in management which had a negative impact on the quality of service provided.

The service was also frequently unreliable - staff were either too early or late making visits which caused unnecessary problems for people.

Care Plus was also described as unreliable and inconsistent due to a high staff turnover.

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That led to staff providing personal care for those whose needs they did not know. Many people felt uncomfortable receiving personal care from a stranger in their home.

Both reports said that urgent action should be taken by the services' management to make improvements.

Alan Adamson service manager from Fife Health and Social care partnership said: "Since these inspections have taken place, significant work has been done with these providers, working closely with them and the Care Inspectorate to allow them to take forward the improvements that were required to address the requirements and recommendations that were found when the inspection was actually undertaken."

Since the pandemic, there have been no inspections.

Cllr David Dempsey described the situation with the care provided as "sufficiently dire." adding: "We shouldn't just note this and leave it. I'm inclined to ask that we be kept briefed on how these are progressing and how they are getting back from these rather low grades to where we need them to be.

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"They cant be allowed to remain providing the service while their grade is at the levels they are."

The committee agreed to get an update on the two care providers.

> Hannah Brown is the Local Democracy Reporter for Fife & Angus

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