Care home residents speak out in support of staff after building comes under fire

RESIDENTS in a Morpeth care home have defended its staff after the building was criticised in a report.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) recently issued a formal warning to European Care (England) Limited, registered provider of the Howard Castle facility in Dacre Street, after inspectors made an unannounced visit.

They said that the people living there were not protected against the risks associated with unsafe or unsuitable premises. Maintenance was not up to date and parts of the home needed to be addressed as quickly as possible.

The home, which provides accommodation and nursing care for up to 40 people, some of whom have dementia, was also said to be failing to operate effective systems to assess and monitor the quality of care.

But its residents believe the staff there are doing the best they can in the circumstances and they have called on the company to provide some investment to improve some of the facilities.

Celia Towers, a founder of the Castle Morpeth Disability Association, was placed into the home by doctors at Wansbeck Hospital when she broke her arm and leg two years ago.

She said: “We were surprised that the CQC published its report before checking to find out whether its criticisms have been taken on board and appropriate action has been taken.

“We want to make it clear that the document is mainly concerned with the actual fabric of the building and not with the services offered and the management immediately set to work on the problems, particularly the state of the treatment room.

“In fact, the standard of care is exceptionally good, the staff are efficient and kind and there is a great atmosphere among the residents. The care is personal and sometimes staff will accompany me when I go into Morpeth.

“Several of us are capable of raising issues with them and they are quickly dealt with. The staff have said that the level of care in other homes is far worse than Howard Castle and this is the most important aspect for the residents.

“What we need is some investment from European Care. For example, some re-painting, decorating and installing one or two fan extractors, which wouldn’t cost an awful lot.”

She added that the home provides a programme of entertainment, excursions are arranged for residents, there is a knitting club and the Mind Active organisation comes along to do some activities.

The CQC will return to Howard Castle in the near future to find out if it is making the required progress.