Bedford service providing personal care for people with learning disabilities blasts damning report

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"We've made a formal complaint," says service director

A service which supports more than 25 people living with a learning disability and autism has made a formal complaint to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after inspectors gave it the thumbs down.

Creative Support – Bedford Services supports people living in seven ‘supported living’ settings in the town with their personal care.

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And, following a visit by CQC inspectors on two dates in February, the Bedford service – based at Bedford Business Centre, Mile Road – was told it ‘requires improvement’ across the board after previously being rated ‘good’.

Bedford Business Centre, in Mile RoadBedford Business Centre, in Mile Road
Bedford Business Centre, in Mile Road

And that also goes for the categories which cover the service’s safety, effectiveness, caring, management and whether it meets the people's needs.

But Creative Support – Bedford Services has already put in a formal complaint following the publication of the CQC’s report.

Lyndsey Downes, service director, said: “We were obviously very disappointed with the recent CQC rating for our services in Bedford as we work very hard to ensure that those we support live a happy and fulfilled life.

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“Our staff have worked tirelessly through two years of a Covid pandemic, facing many challenges along the way and they have done a fantastic job.

“Whilst we are totally committed to continuously improving our services we were very surprised by the approach taken in this particular CQC inspection and this led to us raising a formal complaint with the CQC.

“As a company we are very proud of our overall CQC ratings performance, which is around 90% ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ across close to 100 locations throughout England.

“We have considered all of comments in this inspection report carefully and addressed any areas where improvements can be made, with full support from our local and corporate management teams. We look forward to having these services re-inspected and we are confident this rating will be improved upon.”

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According to inspectors: “The way that staff described people in documents such as daily records and support plans did not always show dignity. For example, people were described as being 'fed' when being supported to eat or 'having an episode' if they felt unhappy.”

The report also mentions multiple times how short-staffed the service is.

The inspectors said: “Staff told us it was difficult to fully support people according to their preferences due to low staffing levels.

“One staff member explained they did not have time to prepare food for a person who wished to eat food from a certain culture.”

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Staffing levels also caused problems with people unable to enjoy their favourite pastimes.

The inspectors said: “In one house, a person had become anxious about going out in a vehicle as it had been a long time since they had used it. This had limited the opportunities for this person to leave their home.”

The report concluded: “We will meet with the provider following this report being published to discuss how they will make changes to ensure they improve their rating to at least good. We will work with the local authority to monitor progress.

“We will return to visit as per our re-inspection programme. If we receive any concerning information we may inspect sooner.”

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