Residents removed from Plymouth city care home

RESIDENTS of a mental health care home have been removed after reports of verbal and physical assaults among occupants. The eight residents of Priory Gate care home in Stoke have been relocated by local authorities.

The home, run by Stoke Healthcare Ltd and commissioned by NHS Plymouth and Plymouth City Council, provided care for adults with various mental disorders including brain damage.

Independent watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) this year gave Priory Gate the lowest possible rating of ‘poor’ and reported several instances of assaults among residents.

Inspectors said staff failed to report the incidents to police or social services, inhabitants were not protected from abuse, neglect and self-harm and there was a high turnover of staff; they noted there had been five managers within 18 months.

NHS Plymouth chief operating officer Steve Waite said authorities had been working with the home for several months to improve the service.

A review team had worked alongside Priory Gate staff to support changes.

Mr Waite said: “Unfortunately the progress being made within Priory Gate was not being achieved at a sufficient rate and so last week a decision was taken that it was in the best interests of the eight clients at Priory Gate to move the clients to more suitable facilities.”

The CQC report was based on three visits to the home, in Wingfield Road, made during April this year.

It states that random inspections had also taken place in July and August last year following concerns raised about the care of residents.

The home, where places cost from £750 per week, has a capacity of 37 residents suffering from mental disorders, excluding those with a learning disability or dementia.

It is owned by Stoke Healthcare Ltd whose directors own other care homes in region, according to the report.

Inspectors rated the home ‘poor’, the lowest rank, in five out of eight categories including concerns, complaints and protection, staffing and management.

It was rated ‘adequate’ for lifestyle, personal healthcare and support, and ‘good’ for environment. One resident was reported to have described staff as ‘brilliant and really helpful’.

However, the report stated: “There have been several incidents in recent months involving people who live in the home verbally and physically assaulting each other, as well as people demonstrating behaviours that put other people at risk of harm or abuse.”

Under the section on staffing, inspectors wrote: “Since the last inspection the standard of vetting and recruitment practices has declined, with appropriate checks not being carried out and potentially leaving the people who live in the home at risk of harm.”

CQC South West regional director Ian Biggs said yesterday: “The Care Quality Commission is aware that organisations who commission services from Priory Gate have taken action to move residents, and they have kept us fully informed.

“Although we understand that there are no longer any residents in the care home, we have not heard directly from the management but we would expect them to notify us if the position changes.”

The mother of a brain-damaged man who has been moved from the home said she had been concerned about some aspects of his care for months.

“We didn’t think it was being run properly,” she said. “He didn’t seem to get taken out and didn’t get any exercise. All they were doing was watching TV: but he was happy there.

“They always seemed to be short-staffed.”

Stoke HealthCare Ltd was unavailable for comment.