Row over critical inspection of West Bromwich care service after choking claims

A care service based in West Bromwich has been heavily criticised by a watchdog in a damning report disputed by the company, it has been revealed.

The provider is based at West Plaza, High Street in West Bromwich. Photo: Google
The provider is based at West Plaza, High Street in West Bromwich. Photo: Google

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated Lifeways Community Centre (Warwickshire and Coventry), in West Bromwich, as “inadequate” – the lowest possible rating.

The inspector, who carried out the checks over three days in July this year, criticised the firm for failing to ensure incidents were reported and recorded.

And they cited one patient was involved in “42 instances of choking” over a prolonged period according to their records, with no preventive action in place.

The service was rated inadequate overall and in categories for being safe, effective and well-led, and requires improvement in the caring and responsive categories.

However the verdict has been disputed by Lifeways who criticised the factual accuracy of it, with a formal complaint being made with the CQC over the report.

The report alleged the provider had not “fully protected people from the risk of abuse and improper treatment” with people not being kept safe from “avoidable harm because staff did not understand how to protect them from abuse.”

And the inspector found incidents and accidents were not “consistently reported, recorded and investigated to promote learning and minimise the risk of re-occurence”, with a system being in place to report incidents which had only been in use for two months at the time of the inspection.

They added in the report: “We saw entries in one person’s care records indicated they had been involved in 42 instances of choking. The provider had failed to ensure these events were reported and recorded. This meant there was a missed opportunity to identify patterns or trends to reduce the risk of reoccurrence.”

It added the provider had failed to ensure there were “sufficient numbers” of staff and duty, with the company’s own audit finding staffing levels were 30 per cent below the required level – and agency staff had been used to cover the shortfall.

At the time of inspection there were 34 people receiving personal care – some of whom may have a learning disability, autism, mental health needs or physical disability, the CQC said.

The organisation based at West Plaza on High Street, West Bromwich, has been placed under special measures as a result of the inadequate and has been told to make urgent improvements.

But the firm said whilst they “fully respect and value the important role of the regulator” they had lodged a formal complaint about the report, and claimed some of the findings had been reported “out of context”.

A spokesman for Lifeways said: “We are aware of the findings of the CQC report in relation to one site at Lifeways Community Care (Warwickshire & Coventry). We have challenged the content of this report through the factual accuracy process and have subsequently lodged a formal complaint with the CQC, particularly in relation to CQC inspector conduct and proportionality of judgements made within the report.

“We are disappointed that not all of the Warwickshire & Coventry services were reviewed as part of the inspection and consider that some of the findings in the report have been reported disproportionality and out of context.

"We fully respect and value the important role of the regulator and we are committed to working collaboratively with the CQC to ensure we are delivering high quality services at all times. A new management and leadership team has recently been appointed at Lifeways and external advisors have already been brought in to ensure any lessons are learnt and all recommendations for improvement are implemented as quickly as possible.” Delivering high-quality care to the people we support is always our top priority and we will continue to strive for outstanding outcomes for people. “

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News