Home care service warned

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A care service in Sheffield which looks after the elderly and disabled has been handed another official warning - despite being told previously by the health watchdog to make improvements.

The Care Quality Commission paid an unannounced visit to Direct Health Sheffield, based in Attercliffe, after people who used the service raised concerns.

The firm was given a warning last October after inspectors found evidence of poor standards.

In a new report, the commission said some customers and relatives described being satisfied with the improvements made.

But the majority said the care and support on offer was still ‘not satisfactory’.

“Care and treatment was not planned and delivered in a way that was intended to ensure people’s safety and welfare,” the report said.

“We have judged that this has a major impact on people who use the service and have taken enforcement action.”

Inspectors contacted nearly 60 patients and relatives, visited people in their homes and reviewed care records.

“People told us staff were late or early in their visits and did not always stay for the allotted time,” said the report.

One relative said staff were ‘very erratic’, while a patient said: “At supper I have to stop up and wait for them, and I get tired.

“Sometimes it’s 6pm, sometimes it’s 8pm.”

Another relative said: “My mum has been eating mouldy bread and out-of-date ready meals.

“She’s blind in one eye.”

After looking through records inspectors found that, in the space of one week, more than a quarter of visits had been later than planned by at least 30 minutes.

But the report added: “Some told us they were satisfied with the care they received and made positive comments about the regular staff.”

Comments included: “Very kind staff, there aren’t any I don’t like. On the whole it’s a good service.”

A fellow customer said: “I am really satisfied - by jove they have pulled up their socks.

“I now get regular carers that stay as long as they should.”

A spokeswoman for Direct Health said the company had been working to address the concerns raised by inspectors.

“We would like to reassure our customers we remain committed to providing the highest levels of health and social care,” she said.

“Since the inspection, we have been working closely with the Care Quality Commission and Sheffield Council to address the issues raised.”

She added: “We have made significant progress in addressing the areas of concern to ensure customers receive services which meet their needs.”