Under-fire Mildenhall care home still ‘requires improvement’, watchdog rules

Mark Westley Photography'Mildenhall Lodge, St John's Close, Mildenhall ANL-150422-230711009
Mark Westley Photography'Mildenhall Lodge, St John's Close, Mildenhall ANL-150422-230711009
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An under-fire Mildenhall care home which opened as part of a trail-blazing £60 million deal between a private provider and council bosses still ‘requires improvement’, watchdogs have ruled.

Mildenhall Lodge, in St John’s Close, has improved since it was last inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in July and September but is still failing to meet required standards in key areas of patient care and safety.

The findings were based on an inspection in December and in a report published this week, inspectors said the service was ‘not safe, staffing levels meant that sometimes people were left without the care they needed and medicines were managed well for most people but some errors could have placed people at risk and had not been investigated’.

While they found the service was ‘not always effective and caring’, staff were ‘caring and treated people with respect’ but people were ‘not always encouraged to maintain their independence or contribute to the daily life of the service’.

The service was ‘not always well led and there have been lots of changes of management in a short space of time and people were confused about who was in charge’,

They found ‘continued breaches of regulations which relate to record keeping and staffing, as well as a breach of regulation which concerns the management of medicines’.

Mildenhall Lodge launched in June last year and was the first of 10 to be opened in a deal between company Care UK and Suffolk County Council.

The following month, the CQC found the home to be in breach of a number of regulations relating to people’s care and welfare, quality assurance, record keeping and staffing.

The county council stopped referring new residents to the home last July.

A spokesman said: “Whilst it is positive that this report points to areas where improvements appear to be taking place at the home since it was last inspected in July 2014, we have maintained our current position in not referring new residents at this time and we continue to monitor the situation carefully.

“We need to be completely satisfied that the findings of this latest report match the information we have gathered since December 2014. The care and welfare of older people is our first priority.”

Rachel Gilbert, regional operations director for Care UK, added: “This new report shows that there has been further improvement in the care delivered at the home although we accept that it does detail some areas which still require attention.

“I must stress that this report relates to inspections carried out in December and, since then, we have worked hard to implement a great many improvements which have been acknowledged by other independent stakeholders.

“I’m also pleased to report that the home now has a permanent, highly experienced manager who joined us earlier this year. “