Hackney Council’s Housing with Care scheme branded ‘unsafe’ by CQC health inspectors and placed in ‘special measures’

Rolling Stock in Shoreditch:Picture Ken Mears

Rolling Stock in Shoreditch:Picture Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A supported housing scheme run by Hackney Council that provides care for 250 vulnerable adults in 14 separate homes has been branded “unsafe” and placed in special measures.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found Housing with Care was “inadequate” following announced inspections in November and December.

The council has six months to make “significant” improvements to the centres – which care for people aged over 55 with issues like learning disabilities, dementia and mental health – or risks being deregistered. When the records of 10 residents were inspected, it was found that medicines were not managed in a safe way and staff had not been given guidelines of when to offer and administer them, the CQC said.

Co-codamol should not be taken at the same time as other products containing paracetamol because of the risk of overdose and liver damage. But one person’s records showed staff had administered both medicines 18 times over six weeks. “This meant the person was exposed to the risk of harm and overdose,” said the report.

Care plans didn’t explain the impact of people’s health conditions on their support needs, and the health plan of one person diagnosed with high blood pressure who had a pace-maker fitted only referred to their need to wear glasses and attend optician appointments.

Many staff had no training in dealing with learning disabilities, dementia and mental health – and, in some of the homes, none of the staff had training in safeguarding adults, despite it being an annual requirement. Breaches were found of four regulations – relating to person-centred care, safe care and treatment, staffing and good governance – and the council was criticised for using a high number of agency staff.

A Hackney Council spokesperson said: “The safety of the service users we support is extremely important to us and making immediate improvements to the service is our highest priority.

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“Extra resources have been put in place to fully address the issues as quickly as possible and our quality assurance team is monitoring all service improvements regularly.”