CQC rates Sheffield care service as inadequate over staff shortages and work overload

A Sheffield care service has been rated as ‘inadequate’ over 'substantial and frequent' staff shortages following a recent inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 11:48 am

Based in Burngreave, Solsken Limited, which cares for patients in their own homes, did not have enough staff 'to keep patients safe from avoidable harm and to provide care and treatment,' an inspection found.

A 24-page report was released on April 29 following a full inspection in February this year by the watchdog inspectors, to follow-up on a warning issued to the service in July 2021 where they rated the service overall as 'inadequate' and urged them to make significant improvements.

The report read that there were not enough staff to cover all shifts, meaning that family members often had to provide care for patients.

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CQC found that Solsken Limited, which cares for patients in their own homes, did not have enough staff 'to keep patients safe from avoidable harm and to provide care and treatment.' (Stock photo: Pixabay)

In addition to that, staff were working excessive hours and were unable to take breaks and the service continued to have a high turnover of staff which impacted on consistency of care.

According to the inspectors, they found two members of staff working hours in one week totalling 60 and 78 hours respectively.

Staff had also signed working time directives, opting out of the maximum weekly working hours and two staff members on the same package of care had worked 30 and 36 hour shifts respectively in January without any break of duty bar a section of the shift allocated to sleeping hours at the patient’s home.

The report added: “Staff did not feel respected, supported and valued and feedback from staff and families of patients was that managers were not always visible or approachable within the service.

“Managers did not ensure that staff responsible for training others within the service were competent, trained and appropriately qualified to do so, and did not ensure all staff had undertaken required competency training.”

Inspectors said there was little understanding of the importance of culture where there were 'low levels of staff satisfaction, and high levels of stress and work overload.'

It said: “Over half of the families we spoke with raised concerns with regards to staffing and told us they were regularly covering shifts due to lack of staff, and that this was having a detrimental effect on their own physical and mental health.”

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‘Extremely disappointed’

Despite the criticism towards the service, inspectors commended them for their 'holistic' care records, which were personal to each individual patient.

The report said: “Patients and their families told us, and we observed, that support staff treated patients with compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity, and took account of their individual needs.

“The service provided mandatory training in key skills to all staff and made sure everyone completed it. Staff understood how to protect patients from abuse and the service worked well with other agencies to do so.

“Staff controlled infection risk well. They used equipment and control measures to protect patients, themselves and others from infection. Staff managed clinical waste well.”

The service, which has not responded specifically to The Star, reportedly said it was 'extremely disappointed' with the findings.

It said: “Solsken are extremely disappointed with the findings of our most recent report and have taken onboard all recommendations from the Care Quality Commission.

“We will endeavour to address all points raised and to ensure Solsken delivers a safe and effective service to all.”