THE owners of a care home in Newnham say they have made "significant improvements" after the publication of a critical report.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited Rowan Lodge in Crown Lane last November and concluded that the home was "unsafe" and "failed to meet the required legal standards of care and welfare for people who used the service".

The inspectors’ report, which came out at the beginning of March, stated: “A programme of audits had not been completed and the registered manager had not identified all the areas of concern we had found. Sufficient action had not been taken to improve the quality of care and treatment and ensure the safety of people.”

Rowan Lodge is owned by Forest Care Ltd. Director Mark Vickery confirmed that a number of changes were made immediately: “These included the appointment of a new senior management team as part of an overall action plan, agreed and supported by CQC and adult services.

“We would like to point out that Rowan Lodge was inspected routinely just 18 months previously and found to be fully compliant in all areas. The November inspection, while extremely disappointing, did conclude that Rowan Lodge was ‘good’ in the key area of caring. Concerns related principally to poor administration, communication and record-keeping.”

He concluded that, in the four months since the inspection, considerable improvements have been made. “We have largely accepted the findings and have worked energetically and collaboratively to promptly rectify the areas of concern.

“It is important to highlight therefore that it is now some four months since the inspection and significant improvements have already been made.

“We would stress that the safety, care and welfare of our residents has always been – and remains – our primary focus.”

At the time of the inspection Rowan Lodge had 55 residents, including a number of people suffering from dementia. The report stated that there was no system in place to monitor the quality of the service, or to identify health and safety risks.

The home was judged by to be ‘inadequate’ in safety, responsiveness, effectiveness and leadership. On the other hand, its care was judged as ‘good’:

“People told us they liked the staff at Rowan Lodge. Interactions between people and staff were good- humoured and caring.”

Among other issues raised in the report, the CQC said inspectors were concerned about safety in the management of medicines. They found that staff had not always received the required training.

“Systems were not in place to ensure medicine errors would be reported and investigated to prevent them from re-occurring. Staff did not have all the information they needed to support people experiencing recurrent falls to mobilise safely while the service waited for professionals to complete their investigations.

“For example, incident reports showed one person had fallen eight times between September 16, 2015 and October 25, 2015. However, their care plan had only been updated once.”

Forest Care have reassured the inspectorate that it was made aware of concerns about shortfalls at the home. The company has appointed a new operations manager, who will be completing an assessment of the standards of service urgently.

Rowan Lodge can now expect another inspection within the next six months, and will be kept under review. When they visited in November, the inspectors spotted seven breaches of the Health and Social Care Act.

If improvements are not made, the CQC has the power to stop Forest Care from operating the home.