Norwich care company told to improve after failing to meet standards during inspection

Council bosses are refusing to refer any new vulnerable people to a Norwich care company until they are satisfied improvements have been made.

Norfolk County Council has taken the action after Leaf Homecare and Support Services, also used by NHS Norfolk and Waveney, failed to meet six of the seven standards inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) during an unannounced visit.

The CQC stated everyone interviewed, including family members and people who receive support, singled out their regular carers as 'worthy of praise', with staff described as 'brilliant', 'wonderful' and 'very kind'.

But the inspectors flagged up three areas said to have a moderate impact on the people receiving care, which either had or posed a risk of a significant effect on their health, safety or welfare.

These included concerns that people were not always cared for or supported by properly qualified, skilled or experience staff and they were not fully protected from the risk of infection.

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One example highlighted staff not being able to change catheter bags, with the person receiving the care having to explain how to do it.

Three of the standards were judged to have a minor impact on people receiving care, including that people's privacy and dignity were not always respected.

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The CQC did find Leafcare's complaints and comments system was up to standard.

Leaf Homecare, of St Benedicts View, Grapes Hill, insists it will address the concerns raised as quickly as possible and is committed to providing the 'best possible standards of care'.

It will have to submit a report to the CQC by December 13 as to how they will meet the standards.

Norfolk County Council has confirmed Leaf Homecare will continue to care for around 80 people it has already referred to the service, but it is not currently referring new people.

Harold Bodmer, the county council's director of community services, said they have been using the service for three years and the majority of their service users are happy with the care they receive.

Mr Bodmer said: 'We have been working closely with Leaf Homecare and will continue to have regular meetings with them until we are satisfied that the appropriate improvements have been made.

'In addition, our locality teams are making sure that current service users are happy about the service they receive.

'We need to ensure that Leaf Homecare are providing a consistently good service before we are happy to move forward and begin new referrals.'

Maureen Carson, NHS Norfolk and Waveney executive director of nursing, quality and patient safety, added the CQC report was being taken 'very seriously' and they will be working with Leaf Homecare to address the issues raised.

Leaf Homecare said its aim was to bring its service into line with the CQC's recommendations as quickly as possible.

Christen Mcdonnell, director of Leaf Homecare, said: 'However, we would like to stress the company has retained all its existing clients in the wake of this report and the majority of points were only at minor level, we have already addressed some of the issues to the satisfaction of Norfolk County Council.

'The report also showed evidence of outstanding client care with the majority of clients reporting no complaints.'

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