LETTER: Shocked at CQC’s reporting of Tetford nursing home

Having read the lead article in the Horncastle News, 22.01.2014, I was disgusted and appalled by the article relating to the South Wold Nursing Home, published as the lead story.

The report had obviously been released to the press by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) with little thought given to the shock and stress this would cause to family members of the residents. In fact my attention was drawn to the press article by a friend who I encountered in my local supermarket.

I also find it disturbing that the CQC have chosen to subject South Wold Nursing Home, management and staff, to what amounts to a trial by media. I assume the management of the nursing home is entitled to lodge an appeal against the findings of the CQC (and I hope they do so) but, thanks to the uncaring actions of the CQC, the home has already been ‘tried and found guilty’, the business possibly destroyed and a valuable local resource possibly ruined.

My mother has been a resident in South Wold Nursing home since November 2009, therefore my wife and I take a keen interest in the quality of the care provided by staff of the home. In the first place my wife and I could not believe the CQC considered that the interests of the residents of the home, and their next of kin, are best served by informing us of their findings via a local newspaper. Given the conditions, as alleged in the Commission’s report and subsequent press release, one would have hoped, and expected, the next of kin of all South Wold’s residents (16 at most) would have been contacted by the CQC prior to their ‘going public’.

My mother entered the nursing home following her discharge from the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in November, 2009. At that time her mental and physical health were such that we considered her life expectancy to be no more than two months.

We are in no doubt that her recovery to an acceptable state of health for a 98 years old person, was due in no small measure to the excellent care and attention she received from the management and staff of South Wold Nursing Home.

My wife and I visit the home two to three times per week and at no time during that four year period have we had any reason to question the care and attention she, or her fellow residents, have received.

I also wish to make it clear that none of our visits are pre-announced to the South Wold management. We have found that the home is run in a very friendly manner, with Mr Munnion and his staff not having lost sight of the fact that, for my mother and her fellow residents, South Wold Nursing Home is each resident’s home. A ‘family’ atmosphere pervades the home due, in no small measure, to the proprietor and his family.

Following our reading the Horncastle News, on 22nd November, 20014, I accessed the CQC website and downloaded the Care Quality Commission report (as referred to in the newspaper report) Try as I may, I cannot find any reference in the Commission’s report relating to “residents living in their own filth”. The nearest reference in the report which bearing any relevance to the headline is “some people’s beds were soiled or in poor condition”, hardly the same as living in their own filth; a phrase which suggests to most readers that residents were living in their own excrement. We would be interested to learn what the bed/s were soiled with; could it have been recent tea/coffee/food, or just a mark that could not be removed by laundering. I note the CQC do not give any description in their report.

I became aware that the CQC had carried out an inspection of the nursing home in September, 2013 and later read their report of this visit on the CQC website. In November 2013 I wrote a four page letter to the Commission on 12th November, 2013, expressing concerns we had over the manner in which the CQC were gathering their evidence, particularly in respect of a set of circumstances featured in their report which I identified as directly related to my mother. Had the investigator/s bothered to contact me I would have been able to explain to them why the particular circumstances existed.

Instead, they formed an opinion, based on their observations and were critical of the nursing home staff. To date I have not received an acknowledgment, contact, or any form of reply from the CQC . I can only assume their investigators do not want to hear what I have to say.

It is my intention to write to the Commission, and other interested parties, expressing my disappointment (and concern) that they have conducted their enquiries/investigations without any reference to the next of kin of the residents.

Further, that they considered it best practice to inform family members of the results and findings of their investigation via the local newspaper.

P. and M. Wilkinson

Horncastle

EDITOR’S NOTE: The newspaper was informed by the CQC that the beds were not soiled with tea/coffee/food etc which led to the original headline.