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Poor quality care homes will not be tolerated in Norfolk, says social services boss

PUBLISHED: 06:30 03 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:07 03 July 2018

James Bullion, executive director of adult social services at Norfolk County Council. Picture: Norfolk County Council

James Bullion, executive director of adult social services at Norfolk County Council. Picture: Norfolk County Council

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Inadequate care homes which fail to get better will not be tolerated in Norfolk, the county’s adult social care chief has said, as a drive is launched to improve their quality.

Shelagh Gurney, county councillor for Hellesdon. Pic: Bill Smith.Shelagh Gurney, county councillor for Hellesdon. Pic: Bill Smith.

Norfolk County Council yesterday agreed to a new initiative to get at least 85pc of Norfolk care providers rated as good or better.

At the moment, the Care Quality Commission rates 75pc of care providers, such as those which run care homes and give support in people’s own homes, as good or better.

But Norfolk County Council, which spends about £320m a year to buy adult social care from more than 700 care providers, wants to raise standards further, through the creation of a dedicated inspection team.

The council acknowledges that the rate of improvement has slowed and that its quality assurance team has been essentially operating in “firefighting mode”.

Northgate House care home, Hellesdon. Picture: ANTONY KELLYNorthgate House care home, Hellesdon. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The authority is to form a “proactive inspection regime” focussing on the 100 or so providers which are struggling to maintain good quality, initially paying particular attention to 40 care homes which are at highest risk of poor ratings.

Northgate House, in Hellesdon, was named in a list of care 
homes in a national newspaper as one of the country’s care homes judged as inadequate in every area by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission.

Operations manager Ziggy Ruhomutally has said steps have been taken to improve the home. But Shelagh Gurney, county councillor for Hellesdon, said she had been contacted by concerned families.

And James Bullion, director 
of adult social services, said: 
“We, of course, begin with supporting providers, but we are intolerant.

“We work on skills and leadership and put in support, but we are absolutely clear that we are intolerant, in that we do not want people in the care market who are not able to improve.”

And Steve Holland, head of quality assurance adult social care, said, in cases where the council was not happy with standards of care, it would stop placing people with those providers.

Mr Holland added the care market was changing and said: “We will need a significant investment in the next 10, 15 to 20 years, if we are to have the quality of care that we need.”

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