Inspectors criticise home care services in the Borders

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A care firm failed to make improvements to one of their home care services nearly two years after they were instructed to do so by watchdogs.

SB Cares, which is owned by Scottish Borders Council, was first told to improve staff training in April 2016.

A new report by the Care Inspectorate has now revealed several further shortcomings.

Scottish Borders Council said it would ensure the report's requirements were met within the relevant timescales.

The latest report found that there were substantial unaccounted-for gaps in recording of medication, home visit times being changed with little to no warning, and a lack of consistency in recruitment.

It also revealed that, in Galashiels, some service users had been visited by up to 20 different members of staff in the course of just one month.

And it highlighted an incident where incorrect medication records, going back to August 2017, were only uncovered when a new carer visited the home and raised concerns about the records.

In April 2016, SB Cares was ordered to make two improvements, known as "requirements", by the Care Inspectorate.

Although one requirement relating to staff duties was met within six weeks, the requirement to improve staff training has still not been met nearly two years later.

SB Cares was also given three recommendations for improvements in the 2016 report, which related to dementia training, supervisions and eLearning - none of which were met.

Staff consistency challenge

The recent inspection reiterates these criticisms, and also imposes a further four improvement requirements and two recommendations.

A spokesman for SB Cares said it had taken "significant steps" to meet the requirements and recommendations of the inspectors.

He added: "The very positive comments from both service users and the inspectors themselves about the quality of our staff does not reflect an untrained workforce, and the inspectors praised the improvements already made and the new induction process that has been put in place.

"We recognise that some further improvements are needed, however in some instances requirements and recommendations have been repeated as an extremely small proportion of our staff have not received training or supervision within the timescales we ourselves identify as being best practice."

A spokesman for Scottish Borders Council said: "While the Care Inspectorate has identified some areas for improvement, a number of areas of the service have been praised and progress since the last inspection recognised."

He added: "Consistency of staff visiting service users is a challenge for all home care providers due to recruitment challenges and staff absences, and especially so during the winter when severe weather can also affect staff travel.

"However, we do accept that this is extremely important to our service users and is an area that we are seeking to make improvements in.

"In addition, we welcome the feedback from service users and the inspectors in relation to the scheduling of visits and this too is a key focus for us."

"We are working to ensure that all five requirements and five recommendations made by the inspectors are met within the relevant timescales."

The report advises SB Cares to implement the improvements within six weeks.

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