Fwd: Mr Steve Norman`s letter; reply

Dear colleagues

You will probably be aware of a report on BBC’s Inside Out programme last night which highlighted recent failings at a number of residential care homes in Bristol run by Mimosa. Care is graded by the Commission for Quality Care inspectorate according to four categories, ranging from poor, or zero-rated, at one end, through adequate, good to excellent at the top end of the spectrum.

The first point to make is that all four of the homes run by Mimosa in Bristol in which we place residents, are currently rated either ‘adequate’ or ‘good’.

What the programme highlighted was failings found during inspections either earlier this year, in the case of Honeymead, or last year – December 2008 in the case of Sunnymead Manor – which is currently rated ‘good’ by the CQC.

I fully accept the findings of the CQC that care fell below an  acceptable level and, as happens when a home is rated poor, the council:

Suspended further placements until the home had been re-inspected – usually within six months – and the rating improved

Worked with Mimosa and the CQC to implement an action plan aimed at addressing the failings

Spent days in the homes checking progress, interviewing residents and observing

Held monthly meetings with the homes involved to review and update the improvement action plan

During the investigations and during every monthly meeting, the risks to residents were assessed

If a particular resident was deemed to be at risk because, for example, their needs were beyond what the home could offer, we would offer the resident a placement elsewhere. The need for this did not arise.

In his letter, Mr Steve Norman highlights allegations of bullying at Kingsmead Lodge. It is true that a number of former care workers at Kingsmead came forward with serious allegations, some of them of a criminal nature. However, the police carried out a thorough investigation and no charges were brought.

With regards to Sunnymead Manor, I did indeed visit the home with the Leader of the Council in March this year because I was extremely concerned about its poor rating. I make no apology for that. I wanted to see for myself what the home was like and what action was being taken to
improve things.

What I found was that a new manager was now in post who had a very clear plan for tackling the failings identified by the CQC. My impression, which was reported by the Evening Post at the time
(10/3/09), that there was “a strong will to improve things”, was subsequently borne out by the CQC which re-inspected in April this year and which rated the home as ‘good’.

I do not wish to suggest that I, or the directorate, are in any way complacent about the issue of care at these homes. The level of care which we expect – and residents and their relatives have a right to expect – fell to unacceptable levels. The situation in all of the homes has now improved considerably but I expect Mimosa to continue to work to improve the level of care at present and I will insist that we continue to monitor the homes to ensure that they do so.

I do not believe the situation at present warrants our ceasing to place people at the care homes run by Mimosa, not is this supported by the recent findings of CQC. And to remove residents from what is their home and their friends is not in their interests. At Sunnymead, for example, CQC found that staff were “friendly, polite and caring in their approach”. CQC also reported that during their visit in April, a number of relatives of residents “sought them out” to praise the care received, with one describing herself as “extremely happy”.

In summary then, the action we have taken with Mimosa and the CQC has addressed the failings which the BBC – and Mr Norman – have highlighted. We will continue to monitor the situation at these homes very closely.

Bev Knott

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3 Responses to Fwd: Mr Steve Norman`s letter; reply

  1. steve norman says:

    O dear have they left councillor Knott to rearrange the deck chairs on the sinking ship? Did he not see the other rats scuttling off the ship?

    Well councillor Knott, your reply to the email that I sent to all councillors is interesting and, as usual, full of waffle – just as you were when I asked written question of your leader at February’s cabinet. A meeting you – interestingly enough – chose not to attend.

    I also note that you are not one of the councillors that has replied to my email.

    In February, six former care workers at Kingsmead Lodge came forward and supplied me with written and signed statements of serious abuse, neglect and bullying, which they had witnessed whilst in the employment of Mimosa Healthcare. All of these former employees resigned. None were dismissed and all but two are still working within the care sector for more reputable employers.

    These statements were given to police and an investigation was launched. I have yet to be notified by the police that the investigation is complete or from council’s adult protection team. I am also led to believe that these statements have been submitted to the coroner’s office who is investigating the death of resident at Kingsmead Lodge.

    In March you appeared in the local press with your leader at Sunnymead lodge stating everybody seemed ‘content’ and proceeded to blame the previous Labour administration for the problems.

    Now let’s deal with what you didn’t tell the press or colleagues:

    1) I became aware through my sources that a resident at Sunnymead has had to have his genitals removed because a wound had become so badly infected due to the neglect carried out by Mimosa Healthcare. Could this be the same person that was in intensive care at Southmead Hospital?

    2) Adult Community Care made no placements to Sunnymead right up until June/July 2009. Why was that Councillor Knott?

    3) When myself and others handed out leaflets to a hastily arranged relatives meeting at Kingsmead Lodge, we found out that a senior officer within Adult Community Care, Ms Elizabeth Sutton, had informed Mimosa of my intentions to leaflet this meeting.

    If Mimosa Healthcare had nothing to hide why was I denied access to the meeting? My father was still a resident at the home although he was actually in a hospital bed in the BRI because of their neglect. Although my family where later asked to pay for the privilege of them doing this.

    4) I received a letter from the Mimosa’s operations director Mr Mark Butler informing me that my father could return to Kingsmead Lodge after his discharge from hospital (I can only assume they weren’t happy at the first attempt at abusing him) but I would not be allowed to visit him because they felt I was bullying their staff. I found that statement beyond belief in light of the fact my only crime was to protect the welfare of my father.

    It is with a heavy heart that I make the next statement “I would l liken Mimosa Healthcare to what was meted out during 1939-1945 to the most vulnerable in Germany by Adolf Hitler”

    The disabled, the elderly, and the most vulnerable in society need to be protected from profiteering providers such as Mimosa Healthcare and the abusers that they employee.

    I also think the elderly that gave me and you the very freedom we enjoy deserve better than ‘Adequate’, so I respectfully suggest you find the nearest drain pipe and scuttle down it with the rest of this gutless Lib Dem administration and officers who keep giving this provider vast amounts of public money.

    Step up and do what you were elected to do: serve the good citizens of Bristol and protect them.

  2. inks says:

    “It is with a heavy heart that I make the next statement “I would l liken Mimosa Healthcare to what was meted out during 1939-1945 to the most vulnerable in Germany by Adolf Hitler”

    Steve, looney-tunes comments like this might be why they’d rather not have you at meetings.

  3. dreamingspire says:

    Steve, first it is the Council officers who should have been dealing with Mimosa’s failings, not directly the Councillors – so maybe we should ask why they did not act quickly and decisively and earlier. Next, from a Google search, Bev Knott only joined the Cabinet (and with responsibility for adult community care) in Feb of this year, and whether he ‘chose not to attend’ the Feb meeting or was unable to, we cannot verify unless Bev speaks up.
    I believe that I can empathise to some extent with your pain, because my own mother was for a period in an LA funded place in a privatised care home (not the same provider, not the same LA), a home that at the time was very inadequate.

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