Care home on sale for £1.5m after third damning inspection since December
- Credit: Niche
A 25-bedroom care home near Sudbury is on the market for £1.5million, as a health watchdog slammed poor safety practices at the facility for the third time since December.
Converted manor house Brookwood Manor, in Little Waldingfield, was inspected by independent regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) at the end of June and given the lowest-possible rating of ‘inadequate’ overall.
It has now been revealed that the CQC is taking enforcement action to cancel provider Blue Ocean Brookwood Ltd’s registration, having barred bosses from admitting new residents earlier this year.
Suffolk County Council chiefs also confirmed they pulled out a large number of residents and found new homes for them after the facility was first placed in special measures in December last year - down from an overall ‘good’ rating in January 2020.
Estate agents Fine & Country have been marketing the property, in Holbrook Hall Park, on Rightmove since the end of July - initially giving a guide price of £2m and reducing this to £1.5m on Wednesday.
Brookwood Manor had the capacity to care for up to 28 people - yet just four were living in the facility by the end of June this year in downstairs bedrooms.
Previously, bosses at the home said that some residents had displayed challenging behaviour through the Covid lockdown and had been moved to more appropriate services.
They have been asked to provide a comment on the sale and the most recent CQC visit.
In late May, an inspection focusing on safety found residents, many of whom have dementia, were having to strip wash at hand basins after a lift shaft broke down.
At the most recent inspection, details of which were included in a new report published on Thursday, CQC experts said people’s dignity had been “much improved” after a new ground-floor shower room was installed.
Some residents had been able to have a whole body wash, and had their hair washed and styled by staff.
However, CQC bosses warned that there was a large hole in the door - which “eroded any privacy” while showering.
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Inspectors also discovered safety risks from ligatures and plastic bags, found that the environment was not cleaned in line with schedules to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and said the garden was unsafe due to an open broken gate, stagnant water feature, and loose bricks.
CQC chiefs said staffing levels put people at risk of harm, with vacancies going unfilled, although Blue Ocean Brookwood Ltd had hired a consultant and care plans had improved.
Despite not having a cook, inspectors described people’s meals as well-presented and appetising as the interim manager had stepped in to provide a hot meal each day.
However, they noted that the latest food hygiene rating given in June 2021 was one star - with major improvement necessary in the management of food safety.
CQC chiefs found that the provider had not been open and honest with people, relatives and staff about the situation and plans for Brookwood Manor.
The home was found to be offering an ‘inadequate’ service overall with ‘requires improvement’ ratings for effectiveness, care, and responsiveness. Safety and leadership were considered inadequate.
CQC bosses said they were aware the home is up for sale and confirmed enforcement action is ongoing - this means it has begun the process of preventing the provider from operating the service.
An SCC spokesman said the authority “made the regrettable decision” to terminate its contract with Brookwood Manor earlier this year.
“We stopped placing council-funded residents in the care home in December 2020 because of serious concerns about the standard of care given,” they said.
“The Care Quality Commission also visited and ruled that the standard of care was not good enough.
“Cancelling contracts and moving residents from their homes is always a last resort and something we work hard to avoid, but the safety of residents is always our primary concern.”