Wiltshire Publications

Westbury care home – more ex staff speak out

Westbury Court  Care Home has come under more fire following a damning report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Now former members of staff have spoken out about the care home saying that poor treatment of its residents and staff has been going on for more than two years.

An exclusive story in the last White Horse News reported that CQC inspectors had found Westbury Court failed in almost every aspect, with the home being judged as inadequate.

The nursing home on Station Road is part of the Four Seasons Health Care group which own 450 care homes in the UK. A former member of staff had told White Horse News that conditions in the home were “absolutely awful”, that residents were left in poor conditions and not looked after, the home was understaffed and management and the company did not care when concerns were raised.

Now, another former Westbury Court employee and a volunteer who went into the home have spoken out about their concerns over conditions there.

The employee said she  made numerous complaints  whilst working there two years ago. She said, “I tried hard to speak to the management when I worked there about the conditions and how the residents were treated by some of the care staff, but I was told by management to, “go away, we are far too busy.” On several occasions I went home and cried. Eventually I went to CQC (the Care Quality Commission) on three or four occasions complaining about the home and they informed Westbury Court headquarters. A senior manager came down to talk to me and I told him everything.  He said he was very concerned about what I was saying to him and told me an emergency meeting was being held that Friday to discuss the way forward.  Nothing ever materialised and no training was ever given. I eventually left and no longer worked for the home.

“I read what the management [have said now] about training, employing more staff, better procedures for quality and care. Well it’s far too late. This was all mentioned over two years ago and little has been done – it’s an absolute disgrace and makes me so angry.  Some senior managers in HQ should be held responsible, not just the managers in the home.  Why have they been allowed to continue like this for so long? Disgusting! And what about the residents?  My heart goes out to them to think that nothing has been achieved after reporting all of this to CQC over two years ago. Very sad. The residents were not fed properly and on many occasions the food was left by the side of their beds either out of reach or gone cold as the residents were too weak to feed themselves. Many times the night staff disconnected the call bell in the residents’ room as they were either understaffed or too busy to attend – this unsettled and scared the residents.

“Residents were on occasions not treated with dignity and care and some had bruising that was not explained or not put in their notes. Some residents were manhandled which was so upsetting.I was asked to give the residents medication, which I questioned, as I was not a nurse.”

A volunteer, who helped at the home after years working as a carer, had a similarly upsetting experience.

She said, “I volunteered at the home for over two years and what happens there is awful. Residents soiled their clothes because they weren’t attended to in time.

“The home is an absolute disgrace and I’m glad the issue has been publicised. The staff were unhelpful and had a horrible attitude – I’m amazed they have been allowed to get away with it for so long.

“I have been to a number of other care homes in the area and the attitudes  are totally different; they are respectful and can’t do enough to help the patients and carers.

“I hated working at Westbury Court and can’t bear to go back.”

Adrian Hughes, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care for the South said, “It is worrying that Laudcare Ltd has let down people for whom it is providing care. People are entitled to services which provide safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care and the provider has failed to do this consistently.

“Our expectation is that Laudcare Ltd takes action to ensure that the standards at Westbury Court are met, and we shall visit again to check if that has happened.

“In response to our findings at the recent inspection, Laudcare Ltd has provided us with an action plan which states that it will have dealt with the issues we have raised by 31 October 2014. Our inspectors will return unannounced to check that the provider is meeting the essential standards. If we find this is not the case CQC has a range of powers to protect the people who use this service.

“In the meantime we have been working with Wiltshire County Council as commissioners to ensure that people’s needs are being properly met, we will continue to monitor them, and we will take action if it is necessary.”

A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said, “We work very closely with all our care home providers and the Care Quality Commission to ensure that people are being cared for appropriately. We have assessed all our residents at Westbury Court and are working very closely with both the provider and the CQC to ensure that good progress is being made on the action plan.”

A Four Seasons spokesperson who responded to the criticism on behalf of Westbury Court said, “We are sorry that the home was not compliant with all CQC inspection criteria and fell short of the standards we expect to provide. The wellbeing of people in our care is our priority and we have taken the CQC requirements and recommendations very seriously.

“We are implementing an agreed action plan with oversight and support from senior regional management. A new home manager, as well as additional care and nursing staff, are being appointed and will take up post once the necessary background checks are completed. There is also an enhanced training plan in place for all staff and we have introduced more rigorous monitoring to ensure our processes and procedures to support quality of care are strictly followed.”