MP presses for answers over care home

CELIA WIGG A Norfolk MP has called for action against a failing care home following a complaint from one of his constituents. Raymond Feltham, of Poringland, was highly critical of the standard of care his late mother Joyce received while at Larchwood Nursing and Residential Home at Thorpe St Andrew, near Norwich, He contacted South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, citing reports from the Commission of Social Care Inspection (CSCI) to underline his concerns.

CELIA WIGG

A Norfolk MP has called for action against a failing care home following a complaint from one of his constituents.

Raymond Feltham, of Poringland, was highly critical of the standard of care his late mother Joyce received while at Larchwood Nursing and Residential Home at Thorpe St Andrew, near Norwich,

He contacted South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, citing reports from the Commission of Social Care Inspection (CSCI) to underline his concerns.

Following an unannounced inspection in September 2005, the CSCI reported that Larchwood was assessed as "high risk", and that if the situation did not improve it would be served with enforcement notices. In May 2006, it found the home's owners, the Bondcare Group, had not made enough significant improvement and "enforcement would commence."

Mr Bacon said the CSCI now appears to be "backsliding", for in a third report in September it stated action will be taken if there is no significant improvement following its next inspection.

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"This is extremely worrying. I have written to the CSCI asking what is going on here, and why enforcement action is being delayed. I have also written to the director of Norfolk County Council's adult services, asking why the county continues to use Larchwood, given the growing unease as to the level of care it provides."

Mr Feltham said on one occasion his mother was left sitting in wet clothes for a couple of hours after spilling hot coffee, and accused the CSCI of dragging its heels.

"I have had a letter from Christine Gilhooly, the clinical director for Bondcare, and she has apologised for the way this issue has been dealt with. They are having an investigation and she wants to meet me on January 26, but it's too late for my mum. It is such a shame she had to spend three weeks in that home," he said.

The CSCI's regulatory director, Frances Chatten, wrote to Mr Feltham in December confirming that Larchwood does not currently meet minimum standards. She is to meet county council officials to discuss the agreed improvement plan.

A council spokeswoman said: "Norfolk County Council works very hard to improve the overall quality of the care in homes run by other agencies which we purchase care from and we work actively with them to help improve standards at these homes. We are aware that this home has some areas for improvement but CSCI have not advised us that people should not be placed in their care. When we make a decision about which home to place people in we do check the status of a home with CSCI."