Inspectors find 'not enough staff' working at Ipswich care home

The Willows care home in Ipswich. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The Willows care home in Ipswich has been rated 'requires improvement' by the CQC - Credit: Rachel Edge

An Ipswich care home has been lifted out of special measures - but watchdog inspectors have raised concerns about staffing issues at the service.

The Willows, which is managed by Sohal Healthcare, was visited by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors on three separate days in May.

The Crabbe Street home had been rated 'inadequate' following its previous CQC visit in July last year.

In a report detailing the findings of the most recent inspection, the CQC noted the home's residents had "maximum choice and control of their lives" and staff "supported them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests".

However, the report added: "There were not enough staff working in the service at the time of our inspection to ensure people's needs were met at all times, including their emotional and social needs.

"During our inspection, staff were being recruited to replace the staff who no longer worked in the service."

The CQC had been notified of concerns of a "lack of social interaction and activity" provided to residents, but said improvements were being made to address this issue.

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The home was lifted out of special measures following the publication of the report, but it was rated 'requires improvement'.

A spokesman for Sohal Healthcare said: "As noted throughout the report, there have been significant improvements at the service since the home was last inspected. We have now achieved a rating of ‘good’ in the effective key line of enquiry.

"Staff numbers are determined using a nationally recognised tool. However, we are constantly reviewing this to ensure that we are operating within best practice.

"On the day of inspection, there was an emergency hospital appointment that required a staff member to attend. This, in turn, meant another staff member had to cover family visits so that we could continue to facilitate them on the day.

"The pandemic has made it difficult to maintain the same levels of social interaction for our residents. Visits have been restricted for long periods and ‘contact visits’ have only recently been permitted. We have not been able to utilise external entertainers as we normally would for the same reasons."

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