Home ‘failed to comply’ over care standards

Cherry Tree House Nursing Home. INCT 49-004-PSB
Cherry Tree House Nursing Home. INCT 49-004-PSB

A Carrickfergus care home ‘consistently’ failed to comply with minimum standards of care, an independent report has found.

Cherry Tree House nursing home came under the spotlight last year after allegations of poor practice were made by a whistleblower.

In September 2013, the Health Minister commissioned the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) to conduct an independent review into the home.

This was to examine issues highlighted by families, staff members and health bodies and to identify any gaps in how concerns were dealt with.

The review was widened in January this year to engage with families and others who had made complaints.

According to the authors of the independent report, published last week, Cherry Tree failed to comply consistently with minimum care standards during the period corvered by the review. “There was evidence that the same issues of concern about care at Cherry Tree were highlighted on a regular basis and where improvements were made, they were often not sustained,” the document added.

The review team were also critical of the RQIA’s inspection processes, indicating that the regulator in some instances “did not follow up on the issues raised in complaints in the next inspection of the home”.

The document also recommended that health trusts ensure there is a mechanism for communicating complaints to the appropriate officials.

Responding to the report, Cherry Tree manager Jennifer Tracey said: “The review has indicated the need to strengthen and improve the current regulatory processes. While the report’s recommendations do not deal with Cherry Tree House specifically, we recognise there is much in the report we can learn from and it provides useful insight into our own shortcomings.

“We will carefully study the entire document for the learnings we can take from it. In the meantime we continue to be committed to working with our regulators to ensure we meet the standards our residents expect and deserve, and also to support stronger and improved regulatory processes where they improve the nursing and residential home care for older people.”

The full report is available online at www.rqia.org.uk