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Covid-19 outbreak home banned from taking new residents.


A care home at the centre of a police inquiry about a Covid-19 outbreak has been banned from taking new residents.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited the Holmesley Care Home, Sidmouth, Devon, days before a Covid-19 outbreak led to 11 deaths.

Two staff members were later arrested  on suspicion of wilful neglect in connection with the outbreak and the CQC downgraded the home from good to inadequate on safety and leadership.

At the time, the care home said the safety and wellbeing of residents was its "top priority" and that it was "in the process of rectifying concerns.”

The CQC said it had imposed conditions on the operation of the care home, preventing it from admitting new residents, or re-admitting former residents, "without prior written agreement from the CQC.”

The CQC said that the care home "must also ensure that systems are in place to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 to protect patients and staff."

CQC head of adult social care, Amanda Stride, said: "When we inspected Holmesley Care Home, we found that people were not protected from the spread of infection. During the first day of our inspection we observed seven members of staff wearing facemasks under their chin, or not at all.

"Soon afterwards, the care home experienced a widespread outbreak of Covid-19. As the circumstances which led to this are now subject to a police investigation, we are unable to comment further on this."  

Amanda Stride added that inspectors found "widespread and significant shortfalls in the way in which the service was led. Residents were at risk of neglect and abuse because systems to monitor the quality of care were either not in place, or not operating efficiently."

He said that the CQC would "continue to monitor the service closely, in conjunction with the local authority, to ensure that improvements are made and fully embedded.”

The regulator also said that it was meeting managers "to discuss how they plan to make the required changes to improve their rating and we will re-inspect to check the improvements have been made.”

A Holmesley Care Home spokesman said "a detailed improvement plan" had been put in place and "all concerns relating to infection prevention and control have been rectified, and we are in the process of embedding new record keeping policies and training for staff.

"The former Home Manager is no longer working with the care home and a new and experienced home manager is now in post. We are confident that upon the next inspection, significant improvements will have been made."