Temple Court care company accuses regulator of 'sweeping Covid-19 cause' under the carpet

Amicura Care has issued a robust response to a Care Quality Commission report that found serious failings at Temple Court

15 residents were discharged into the home on March 19 from Northamptonshire hospitals that were freeing up beds ahead of an expected surge in covid cases.
15 residents were discharged into the home on March 19 from Northamptonshire hospitals that were freeing up beds ahead of an expected surge in covid cases.

The care company that runs Temple Court insists the Covid-19 outbreak caused the problems in its nursing home and claims the authorities are ‘sweeping it under the carpet’.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has placed Temple Court in special measures after it found ‘serious failings’ at the Kettering nursing home in Albert Street last month (May).

16 residents sadly died from the virus after an outbreak between March and May and a police investigation is ongoing into the operational working of the home. Northamptonshire’s adult social services is also conducting a safeguarding investigation.

Inspectors found serious failings at Temple Court by the care company insists Covid-19 was largely the cause of the poor care standards.

However Amicura Care, which runs the now-closed home, claims the problems were largely down to 15 people being sent into the home on March 19 from the county’s two hospitals as part of a mass discharge to free up beds ahead of an expected surge of Covid-19 patients.

The care company says the first resident died on March 28 and had come into the home as part of the NHS discharge.

In a lengthy statement a spokesman for Amicura said: “We are astonished the CQC report has chosen to disregard the reason why standards at Temple Court deteriorated – the home was completely overwhelmed due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

“An influx of residents from the NHS in late March led to an outbreak of Covid-19 which affected existing residents and a large proportion of staff, including the manager and entire senior team. This left the home disproportionately reliant on the use of available agency staff, with very little opportunity to adequately train them on our policies and procedures.

“We sought assistance from the local authority and NHS Nene CCG on 30 April when it became clear to us that the home could no longer cope, and care and governance had become inadequate.

“We are grateful for the assistance given, which included up to fifty per cent of staff being provided by the authorities on any given day.

“The CQC inspection took place on 12 May – when care was being directed by the local authority and NHS Nene CCG – and 13 May when the home was completely empty.

“The home was assessed by the CQC in June of last year as ‘requiring improvement’ and significant investment was made in both the management team and physical environment, with the sole aim of improving the quality of care and experience for residents.

“Huge progress was made and was recognised in a positive report by NHS Nene CCG on January 23 which had an overall score of 92 per cent. This included scores of 100 per cent in nutrition and hydration, safeguarding, infection prevention and control, medication management, prevention of falls, access to primary care, staffing, and staff training – all of which are now rated inadequate by the CQC’s report.

“Our priority has always been the wellbeing of our residents and giving them the best care possible, and we are very disappointed that the root cause of the very sudden deterioration of standards has simply been swept under the carpet.”

The CQC report lists a catalogue of failings by the home and severe management problems. It said it found residents were malnourished and dehydrated, some suffered harm due to lack of care, people were left in unclean beds and that the home was not properly managed or staffed from April. It says there was not a permanent nurse at the home and that some residents missed medication while others were given too much. Others had wounds that were not properly treated and became infected. Infection control measures were also not adequate and some staff did not know how to dispose of contaminated items.

The CQC says there could be further regulatory action.

A joint statement from NHS Northamptonshire CCG and Northamptonshire County Council said: “As in all cases where concerns are raised about quality of care provision, our first priority is the wellbeing of residents.

“All residents of Temple Court residential and nursing care home have now been moved to new placements elsewhere to ensure that no-one is at risk, and in line with our standard practice a multi-agency investigation has begun into the issues raised.

“With enquiries under way, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”

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