Care home in Birkenhead criticised for not meeting proper standards

A BIRKENHEAD care home for adults with learning disabilities failed to fully comply with “essential standards of quality and safety”, according to a social care watchdog.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) named Acrefield House in Prenton as one of seven “non-compliant” care homes owned by the Castlebeck Care Group.

Castlebeck was investigated after an undercover reporter from the BBC’s Panorama programme secretly filmed vulnerable residents with learning disabilities being pinned down, slapped, doused in cold water and repeatedly taunted and teased.

Twelve people who worked at its Winterbourne View care home near Bristol were arrested and are currently on police bail.

The CQC said the firm needed to make “root and branch improvements”.

Its inspectors said staff at 12-bedroom Acrefield did not have the training, support and skills needed to support people at the home and quality and safety was not being monitored effectively.

They found that three incidents of “aggressive behaviour” at the home were not reported to Wirral Council’s safeguarding unit or to the commission and there was an “over reliance on verbal information”.

Acrefield House is run by Mental Health Care (Wirral) Limited, a subsidiary of Castlebeck.

In a statement, Castlebeck chief executive Lee Reed said: “Castlebeck has now received the CQC’s reports into all of our services across England and acknowledges that some have not met the high standards we would expect to achieve, or which the people in our care and their families rightfully deserve.

“We are committed to addressing all of these shortcomings as a matter of urgency.”

The regulator, which has told Castlebeck to show how it intends to improve, said it had identified lack of staff training, inadequate staffing levels, poor care planning, failure to notify relevant authorities of safeguarding incidents and failure to involve people in decisions about their own care.

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said: “We need to be clear: we have not found problems on the same scale as were found at Winterbourne View.

“Our inspections have found a range of problems, many of which are found in a number of different services.

“This clearly suggests that there are problems that Castlebeck needs to address at a corporate level – the company needs to make root and branch improvements to its services and processes.”