'Inadequate' Reading care home avoids any enforcement action by inspection body

The Care Quality Commission says it's not using its full powers against the Life Care home in Reading, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Care inspectors say they will not take be taking enforcement action against an ‘inadequate’ Reading care home because of the coronavirus crisis.

Life Care home in Cressingham Road has been rated ‘inadequate’ and put in ‘special measures’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for two inspections in a row – the latest visit took place in January 2020 and before that, in April and May 2019.

In a report published on 13 May 2020, the CQC said its latest inspection found ‘continued breaches’ by Life Care, of its obligations to provide person-centred and safe care, as well as breaches relating to consent, premises and equipment and governance. Call bells had been removed from people’s bathrooms and communal areas, residents could not choose preferred foods and conflicting information was found in care records.

However the CQC said ‘it took account of the exceptional circumstances arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic when considering what enforcement action was necessary and proportionate to keep people safe as a result of this inspection’ and ‘at this time, we have therefore decided against undertaking enforcement activity and to instead ask the provider to focus on driving improvement’.

CQC guidance states that if any care home stays in special measures for two consecutive inspections, then one option would be to stop that service from operating.  However, it is not known if this action would have been taken with Life Care if the coronavirus pandemic had not occurred.

The CQC says it will meet Life Care to request an action plan for improvement, and it will work with Reading Borough Council to monitor the home’s progress.

Life Care has requested a review from the CQC of its quality ratings.

At the time of its last inspection, 30 people were living at the care home.

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