Wigan care agency's staff punctuality criticised by health watchdog

A home care agency in Wigan has been criticised for the punctuality of its staff in caring for patients by the national health watchdog.
The Sagecare offices in StandishThe Sagecare offices in Standish
The Sagecare offices in Standish

Sagecare has been rated as requires improvement by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following a recent three-day inspection in February.

In a report published this month, the CQC said it had received “mixed feedback” from people about the punctuality and continuity of staff at the Standish-based domiciliary care agency.

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One person quoted in the report said: “Weekends, I don’t know what time they (staff) are going to come or what staff are going to arrive.”

A Wigan woman who doesn’t want to be named told the Wigan Observer: “We pay Sagecare to provide care for my elderly relative and sometimes they turn up hours after they are supposed to do.

“They should be there to get them up at 8am and on some days it can be 10.45 before they arrive. It’s just not acceptable.

“When you phone to complain they just say they never promise a definite time.”

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Inspectors said in the report that feedback they received suggested verbal complaints about the punctuality of staff and lack of communication had not been thoroughly investigated and responded to.

While people told inspectors that their “routine” staff knew them well but non-routine staff were not so familiar with their needs and preferences.

The report also acknowledged that staffing levels and safe recruitment processes needed to be “reviewed and strengthened.”

Watchdogs also said they had received some negative feedback from people and relatives about the skills and experience of staff.

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One comment the CQC received included: “I think some of the carers could do with more training in dementia care.”

The service was rated as requires improvement for its safety, effectiveness, responsiveness and leadership.

It was given a good rating for its care.

The service provides personal care to 309 older people and children living in their own homes in Standish, which includes help with personal hygiene and eating.

However watchdogs said in the report that staff had told them staffing levels had improved and that the manager was filling staff vacancies as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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They also said that even when staffing levels have been a concern, the manager ensured that people continued to receive the care they required.

Staff told inspectors: “Staffing issues are improving and carers have left but we do work together as a team.”

The service was also praised for the care it provided to people.

Inspectors said that people and relatives told them that staff treated them well and provided care that was tailored around their support needs.

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People were also said to have been supported and treated with dignity and respect and involved as partners in their care.

The report also said that staff encouraged people to make choices about day-to-day support they needed.

One care record stated, “Weather permitting, carers can take me for a little walk around the street.”

A relative said: “Yes they are really respectful and nice to my husband and staff are all very pleasant and very caring.”

Another person added: “The staff are brilliant, I cannot fault them. Staff provided respectful, dignified and compassionate care.”

Sagecare declined to comment when contacted.