Care provider fined over medication management
Caring Times, February 2013
A care provider which failed persistently to comply with national standards on the safe management of medicines has been issued with a fine of £4,000 by the Care Quality Commission.
CQC issued the fixed penalty notice to St Martin’s Care Ltd after inspectors found that concerns which had been identified on inspection at the 63-bed Willow Green nursing home, Darlington, County Durham had not been addressed properly for three months.
The registered provider, St Martin’s Care Ltd, had been formally that it was facing legal action after two unannounced inspections in February 2012. At the time, Inspectors found that the nursing home was failing to ensure that people were protected against the risks associated with the unsafe use and management of medicines.
The provider was told that it must make urgent improvements. When inspectors returned unannounced in May, they found that people were still at risk. While the home had made some improvements, the provider still did not have appropriate arrangements in place to manage medicines. People still did not have all their medicines at the times they needed them in a safe way. Some people were not able to be given their medicines as prescribed because the medication was out of stock. Records were inaccurate or incomplete, medicines were not always given to people appropriately, and staff had failed to follow the directions of the prescriber or the manufacturer.
Subsequently CQC issued a fixed penalty notice, which the provider has accepted and paid. Following CQC’s intervention, St Martin’s Care Ltd has now taken action to achieve compliance. A report of its latest inspection, in November, has been published on the CQC website.
Malcolm Bower-Brown, CQC’s director in the North said: “It is a provider’s legal duty to ensure that it has appropriate arrangements in place to manage medicines in a safe way.
“Earlier this year we received concerns about the safe management of medication at Willow Green. In response, we inspected the home and warned St Martin’s Care that they must make urgent improvements.
“It was a matter of great concern that three months later we found that residents of Willow Green were still not receiving medication properly, in line with legal requirements.
“The law sets out national standards that everyone who uses services should be able to expect. Providers have a duty to ensure they meet these standards. Our decision to fine this provider sends a clear and public message that persistent failure to meet national standards will not be tolerated
“Although the provider has now taken action to achieve compliance, we will keep Willow Green under review to ensure that the improvements we have found in our most recent inspection are sustained. We will not hesitate to take further action if necessary to ensure residents receive the service they are entitled to expect.”