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January 8 2020

Former staff speak out about care company after damning inspection report

Former staff have spoken out about a care company after a watchdog's damning inspection report, which included concerns about the lack of background checks on staff.

The Care Quality Commission says Ignite Health and Home Care Service 'requires improvement'.

Two ex-members of staff have now told the Worcester News that Ignite is "terrible". A spokesman for the company, however, said "delivering a safe and excellent service is our priority".

Dawn Housman worked as a carer from August until November last year until she was sacked for having a criminal record, despite having explained her jail-time during her interview, she alleges.

She said: “I told them I have a criminal record and that I was in jail for assault. I’ve never done care before. Some of the clients had not been washed and there was poo in places there shouldn’t be.

“It was terrible. Can you imagine leaving your grandparents and seeing them in this state?”

The 49-year-old from Worcester added: “I absolutely loved my job. I was heartbroken when I was sacked.

“I loved being able to give something back to people. You don’t realise how many people are out there who haven’t got anybody in their life. Some of them can be the most caring and lovely people.”

Ms Housman claims she only completed half a day of ‘shadowing’ another member of staff, which is where she followed a colleague during their shift as part of her training, before she was then put on a shift of her own.

With no previous caring experience, Ms Housman alleges she worked from 5.30am to 11.30pm without a break for five shifts in a row.

The care company, in Lowesmoor Terrace, was inspected on October 22, 2019 ‘as a result of concerns that had been highlighted.’ The CQC report was published on December 28 and said Ignite 'requires improvement'.

Another ex Ignite employee, who wished to be anonymous, and worked at the company for over a year, said “These people don’t have a clue what the job is or what they have to do. They put carers out on shifts with no DBS checks.”

The CQC report said: “We received concerns in relation to the management of people’s calls, staff training and staff recruitment checks.

“The overall rating for the service has deteriorated to requires improvement. This is based on the findings at this inspection.

“We found new staff were not always fully trained and had their competencies checked before they administered medicines to people.”

Ignite Health and Home Care, which is a care-at-home service for people aged 65 and over, received its previous rating in June 2019 and was marked as good.

A spokesman for the company told the Worcester News: “At Ignite Health and Homecare Service Ltd we adhere to very stringent recruitment processes for all new starters.

"We carry out DBS checks, we obtain a minimum of two references; professional and character references. We also ensure all mandatory training is completed and three-day shadowing shifts are undertaken.

“Ignite believes in giving people second chances, particularly those who may have criminal convictions. Sadly some people may have made poor decisions in their youth.

"In such an instance, we carefully consider each prospective worker individually by carrying out a thorough risk assessment on all candidates with positive DBS and putting a plan in place to mitigate any potential risk.

“One of the ways we manage such a situation is to ensure that all candidates with a positive DBS are placed on a double up run and not singles.

"The dismissal of a worker is not undertaken lightly, it is often used in instances of gross misconduct to safeguard the vulnerable people who use our service.

“Ignite Health and Homecare Ltd operates a family friendly service that takes into account flexibility around parents with young children. We run a shift pattern from: Morning shift 6.30am – 2.10pm with breaks in between, then the evening shift that starts from: 4pm - 10.25pm.

“Ignite Health and Homecare Ltd has a range of systems to monitor quality which include spot checks, service user feedback, electronic monitoring, staff supervision, monthly staff meetings and reviews. There are systems in place to support workers to report any concerns especially around the health and welfare of our clients.

"Part of the training induction, supervision gives clear guidelines how to report any concerns they may have in regards to the service users welfare, any concerns regarding the service users welfare should be escalated without delay to managers, team leaders and care coordinators.

“Delivering a safe and excellent service is our priority. This is delivered by staff who are well trained and in good health. We have effective procedures in place to address any staff sickness whilst ensuring continuity of care.”