AN Edinburgh care at home service has been handed a 12-day ultimatum to make changes to the standards of its care towards older people after industry regulators raised “serious concerns” in a scathing report.
The Highland Care Agency Home Care & Support Services, whose head office is in Granton Square, was served with a formal Improvement Notice by the Care Inspectorate on August 23 with bosses given until September 3 to comply or face the loss of their registration.
The agency provides staff to nursing and residential care homes and local authorities throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians including nurses, care assistants, support workers, domestic staff and social care managers.
The notice lists four areas which require “urgent improvement”. These include making proper provision for the health, welfare, and safety of people who rely on their services.
The regulatory body states in the notice that the agency must ensure care visits are carried out when they are supposed to, provide staff that are suitably qualified and competent and that staff in their employ have been recruited using safe national recruitment guidelines.
They have also been advised to provide personal plans for their service users and put systems in place to review the plans. Failure to show compliance with any one of the improvements within the timescale could result in them losing their registration.
A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said: “The Improvement Notice clearly lays out the improvements we must see so that the care experienced by people improves quickly.
“We will inspect this service again soon to check on progress and if we are not satisfied that the matters raised are being addressed urgently we will not hesitate to take further action.
“Everyone in Scotland has the right to safe, compassionate care which meets their needs and respects their rights.”
A spokeswoman for the Highland Care Agency said: “Highland Care Agency Home Care & Support Services, Edinburgh, has been acquired by Lighthouse 24HR Recruitment Limited, in order to turn around the business. Its existing problems have been well documented by the Care Inspectorate.
“As a way forward, the Company is working with the Care Inspectorate, the local council and has engaged an external consultant to work on the improvement notice.
“We hopefully see this as a way forward and our passion is to provide a better service to all our clients.”
A spokeswoman for the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We take all inspection reports very seriously and have been working with the Care Inspectorate and Highland Care Agency Home Care & Support Services to improve their services.
“As always, our primary priority is to ensure good quality care for people who require it.”
The Evening News launched the Care in Crisis campaign in May 2017 amid growing evidence of the extent of the failings in the Capital’s social care system.
Care services are under huge pressure across the UK as they struggle to meet the increasing support needs of an ageing population amid funding pressures and difficulties attracting and retaining staff.
The problems in Edinburgh, however, have been among the worst in the country.
One of the worst inspection reports on care services ever published in Scotland warned last year that elderly people in the Capital had to be in “critical” need before receiving the support they need. Care inspectors found that the frail and elderly had to wait 100 days on average even to have their needs assessed and “stretched” staff struggled to understand the range of services on offer.
Delivery of “key processes” was “unsatisfactory”, the worst possible rating, while in four other areas the city’s health and social care partnership – which brings together services provided by the NHS and city council – was instructed to improve services in four other areas judged “weak”.
This newspaper has pledged to continue highlight the problems – and informed opinion on potential solutions – until the care crisis is resolved.