I gave this answer to a question that was asked on an urgent basis to policy committee. As it happens it was outside the rules for an urgent question (as it was submitted too late and was not urgent (as it relates to information that was in the public domain in August. However I felt taht an exception should be made because of the importance of the topic under discussion.
The CQC report to which Cllr Harris refers was published on 30th August –a copy was sent to all Councillors via Councillors services.
The Council took the decision on March 26 to temporarily stop placing people in Riverview Care Home . The Council also immediately reported the safeguarding concerns to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which prompted it to make an unannounced visit to Riverview.
The council’s immediate priority in these circumstances was to ensure the safety of residents at the care home. A monitoring team carried out a number of assessments at Riverview Care Home at the time to ensure that residents were safe and the council is continuing to visit and monitor the care given to residents at the home.
The Council has (with health partners) put in a specialist nursing team to ensure the safety and welfare of the frailest residents – some of whom are funded via the Council. This team consists of 3 nurses and a specialist mental health (dementia) practitioner. In the next day or so this will be supplemented by a community matron, OT and a further nurse.
As lead member I have been updated weekly on the situation.
I was briefed this afternoon by officers who are satisfied that at present the care and safety of residents is being protected. However they remained concerned about the home and the council will not re-introduce admissions to Riverview Care Home until it is completely satisfied that Riverview management has taken all necessary actions coming out of the CQC inspection.
The Council and CQC are in regular contact about the CQC inspection and we now await the a detailed report regarding their follow up inspection.
The Council has been taking very seriously it’s safeguarding responsibilities and I have made it very clear to officers that the safety of residents comes first.
Riverview is run by Life Style Care and residents are made up of a variety of people placed by different local authorities and health services, as well as a number of self funders. If relatives of Reading residents in the home have any immediate concerns, Reading Borough Council has set up an advice line they can call on 0118 937 2710. This applies to both self funders and to council funded residents.
The Council will only contract with providers who have satisfactory CQC reports. It will also carry out its own checks in terms of the terms of the contract which it will enter into. This will include visits to the home and regular monitoring checks thereafter. Any concerns reported by staff, families, members of the community or residents themselves are investigated promptly
All individual Reading based residents have been supported in either moving or in remaining at Riverview safely and if the CQC considers that the home can remain open this will be at the choice of the resident or family.
As I’m sure Cllr Harris is aware Riverview is not a residential care home, it is a nursing home. This is a service that the Council always purchases in the private and voluntary sectors, it is not a service the Council has ever provided.
Those who need nursing care will continue to be placed in other nursing homes. The Council will not place with Riverview until there is evidence that the home can sustain the changes made over the summer months for all residents. This means that there may be some strain on places within the immediate locality for a period of time. There is a limited capacity within the immediate area.
This is one of the reasons that the Council, along with our health partners, is anxious to see sustained change at the home.
It is this is a matter of continued concern with CQC and health partners. Buying on a ‘spot’ rather than bulk contract has cost the Council over the last few months. The Council is modelling the financial implications of this and has notified the home owner that it may seek to recoup these costs under the terms of the contract. This is in addition to the substantial staff support that the council is providing as I mentioned above.
However the safety of our residents has to come first as both Cllr Lovelock and I have made very clear. Cllr Lovelock and I have written to Lifestyle care raising these concerns and pointing out the unacceptable impact that the continued concerns are having on both the council, our health partners and most importantly our elderly residents.