Care agency operating in Hyndburn rapped by watchdog

Care agency operating in Hyndburn denies allegations of abuse

Care agency operating in Hyndburn denies allegations of abuse

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Health Reporter

A CARE agency which operates in Rishton and Great Harwood has rebutted allegations of abuse made against its staff.

A number of accusations have been probed by managers at Highfield Scheme Limited, with none upheld, but the firm has subsequently been rapped by a watchdog for failing to keep proper records of their investigations.

Some staff also told the Care Quality Commission (CQC) they would not feel properly protected by the Queen Street company if they raised concerns about colleagues or care practices, according to an inspection report.

The CQC said it had received ‘concerning’ allegations about the conduct of some employees, prior to their inspection last month.

Its report said: “We were advised the allegations had been investigated and were unsubstantiated. However, on the first day of the inspection the service received additional information which warranted further investigations to be carried out.

“This meant at the time of writing this report the allegations and matters of concern remained inconclusive.

“Earlier in the year we had received information on another allegation of abuse at the service. This matter had also been alerted to the safeguarding team who had instructed the service providers to investigate.

“We were advised the allegations had been investigated and were unsubstantiated.

“However, records had not been retained to support the investigation, actions and conclusions in response to this matter. We were therefore unable to verify that appropriate action had been taken.”

Concerns were also raised about a lack of safeguarding training, and the shortcomings meant there was a ‘risk people using the service may not be properly protected from abuse and poor practice’. No further details were given.

Lorraine Sharples, manager of the Queen Street firm, said: “We are very grateful to the CQC inspectors for working with us. An action plan is now in place to address these issues.”

She said the latest investigation has not yet concluded.

When asked what the previous allegations had related to, she said they were ‘more to do with staff against staff’.

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