Delays to housing and new care home proposals impact on local care services

Following a recent unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Park House has been judged as Requires Improvement.

This has been driven by the poor state of the building and the lack of housing to support the recruitment of staff. This had led to staff working overtime to maintain the provision of the service. These factors have affected the judgements around leadership and effectiveness which are both Requires Improvement despite the many positive aspects identified about the quality of care delivered by the service.

In the face of these challenges the safety, care and responsiveness of the service have been rated as Good with numerous positive findings and comments from staff, professionals and families.

People were found to have maximum choice and control of their lives and that staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests; it was identified that the policies and systems in the service underpin this practice. People were found to be supported to access healthcare services, staff recognised changes in people's health, and sought professional advice appropriately.

The report noted that there is a positive attitude in the staff team with the aim of trying to provide the best care possible for the people living at the service.  Staff and managers were found to be friendly and supportive.  A professional commented, “I have found the manager to be a powerful advocate for the rights of their residents and always professional, informed and competent in their duties and responsibilities often going above and beyond to ensure residents are treated with respect and dignity in their home”. Family, staff and professionals complimented the service with one stating “I have always seen and heard the staff interacting with residents in a most positive, caring manner. They all have a lovely approach, engaging in conversation, while listening and responding to their individual needs." 

The Council has recognised for some time that Park House is not fit for purpose.  A business case to central government has been made for an integrated building with NHS services which would include a new care home. The Council is still waiting for an outcome and decision following a visit from central government by the then Secretary of State for Health.

The Council accepts that waiting for this delayed decision has meant upgrades to Park House have not been carried out as they should have been and this will be rectified at pace.

The Council has already made the money available to upgrade and update the property and to bring it up to standard. This has not previously commenced partly due to difficulties identifying a contractor to carry out this work as well as problems associated with the pandemic and infection control.  These are now due to start in early spring and will address all the concerns identified in the report e.g., upgraded bathrooms and kitchen, new floor coverings and additional storage.  This will create a much more pleasant environment for staff and residents that will also therefore improve the effectiveness of the service.

Cllr Joel Williams, Lead Member for Children, Adults and Public Health, comments ‘I am disappointed at the overall rating of the service as there are so many positive statements in the report. I am so proud of the team in Park House and , who worked very hard to protect our service users from the impact of COVID and who daily give everything to make people’s lives meaningful and full of love, often working above and beyond the call of duty. This is a highly regulated service, and I am so glad to see the evidence of the rigour of practice in keeping our the most vulnerable in our community safe.  We hope staff know how highly they are regarded and will see evidence in the report of the impact of their work. It’s now up to us a whole Council, with partners and the community, to address the strategic impact of our housing crisis on recruitment for this essential and much-loved service, Residents, family and friends of Park House can be reassured that their care is good and that we will work to improve the building in which they live now and in the future.'

Cllr Robert Francis, Chairman of the Council also states “Park House is an essential service.  I am requesting urgent confirmation from government on the status of our bid for a new, purpose-built facility. However, in the here and now, we need housing for our care staff to ensure we can continue to provide a safe service to our community.  We are working hard with partners to identify solutions swiftly and I would also like to urge the community to come forward if they have housing options for this vital workforce. In addition, we welcome anybody already living on the islands to consider joining our fantastic team’

A detailed action plan will be coming to Members in March for consideration including a review of the current market forces supplement to recruit and retain staff.

Publishing date: 
Friday, 10 February, 2023