Watchdog issues warning to Cornish care firm

A health watchdog has issued a formal warning to a Cornish care agency, ordering it to improve its standards.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Oasis Community Care Limited that it must act quickly or face legal action.

The warning follows an unannounced visit by inspectors to the company at St Dennis, near St Austell, in September to follow up concerns raised by an anonymous complainant.

Inspectors had been told that scheduled visits were being missed and that staff were being told to shorten them in order to get around all of their visits.

Inspectors found that there were incomplete recruitment records and of the ten staff records which they saw, only two members of staff had a reference. Inspectors also found there was no other evidence of checks being made with previous employers or any attempt to follow up issues which needed verifying.

The company managers were not confident that they could provide enough staff to cover all of the visits that had been booked that weekend to provide personal care.

A two-page list of scheduled visits which could not be covered by the agency was given to Cornwall Council Social Services, so that they could make emergency arrangements.

Ian Biggs, regional director of CQC in the South West, said it had to intervene.

“It was quite clear that Oasis Community Care Limited was failing in its duty to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of people, by taking steps to ensure that there were enough suitable staff available to work with the vulnerable people who depend on them.

“We had no reason to believe that the managers would have informed anyone of the likelihood that there were insufficient staff to provide care over the weekend.

“This warning sends a clear and public message that Oasis Community Care Limited needs to address this issue as a matter of urgency or face serious consequences.”

Mr Biggs said inspectors would return but if they found the agency was not making the progress required he said: “We won’t hesitate to use our legal powers to protect the people who use this service.”

The Western Morning News contacted Oasis Community Care Limited yesterday, but there was no-one available who could comment.