Towcester nursing home incident being investigated by police

Duncote Hall Nursing Home is part of a live police investigation and has been visited again this month by care regulators

By Sarah Ward
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 1:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 1:34 pm
There are current concerns about the quality of care at the home.
There are current concerns about the quality of care at the home.

A police investigation is under way at a Towcester nursing home run by the same care company that operates Temple Court in Kettering.

Minster Care’s Duncote Hall Nursing Home is currently part of a ‘live investigation’ into a safeguarding incident that dates back to last summer.

However the local health commissioner and the Care Quality Commission say they have current quality concerns about the home, that was rated as inadequate by the CQC watchdog in May.

The inspection, which took place in early March, found that residents were not being cared for properly and were at risk of choking, skin damage and fire. Last month another of Minster Care’s home’s Temple Court in Kettering was heavily criticised in a damning CQC report which said that some residents were malnourished and dehydrated, living in unclean conditions and not being given their medication safely.

16 residents died at the Kettering home during the pandemic from Covid-19 and health and adult social care bosses decided to shut it down and move surviving residents to other settings.

Police are currently speaking with relatives and staff to establish whether any criminal offences took place within the home.

CQC inspectors went back to the Towcester nursing home at the start of this month and a spokesperson said: “We inspected Duncote Hall on Thursday 2 July to follow up on issues identified during our previous inspection of the service, which took place in March.

“The findings of July’s inspection will be published as soon as possible.”

A report to go before the Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Board this afternoon says there are still ongoing concerns.

The paper says: “The service was rated inadequate for the second time following a CQC inspection on 4 March 2020. The CCG team have provided ongoing monitoring and support into this service in addition to regular professional meetings being held with the provider. There continues to be ongoing concerns in relation to the quality of care and overall management level oversight.”

Northamptonshire Police says it is working with the safeguarding adults team at the local authority to investigate the home, which is located in a former manor house.

A spokesperson said: “Northamptonshire Police became aware of a possible issue at Duncote Hall Nursing and Residential Home near Towcester in January of this year.

“We are working with the Safeguarding Adults Team at Northamptonshire County Council and the Care Quality Commission to investigate this further and as it is a live investigation it would be inappropriate for us to provide any additional comments.”

Minster Care, which has been operating for the past two decades, says it has brought in additional full time staff to the home.

A spokesperson said: “A safeguarding review, involving the police, was opened in July 2019 relating to allegations of a failure to respond to a clinical issue by an agency worker. The person has not been used by us since and was reported to the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC).

“Improvements have been made since the CQC’s most recent report, but a number of issues remain which are being addressed.

“Our priority is the wellbeing of our residents and giving them the best care possible, and we have taken further steps to ensure the process of change happens as a matter of urgency. A new, well-respected management team is now in place and they are working closely with our regional management team to improve procedures, the standard of care provided, and the physical environment of the home.

“Additional full-time staff have been appointed to decrease reliance on agency workers, improve the consistency of care, and ensure all of our policies and procedures are rigorously enforced.

“81 per cent of homes operated by Minster Care Group are rated ‘good’ by the CQC. This exceeds the CQC’s national comparison which shows that 78.5% of homes run by other providers are rated ‘good’.”

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