Councillor disappointed with care grades

Wednesday March 17th 2021


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Improvements across care services were described as “positive” after three inspections produced good feedback during the pandemic.

A meeting of Midlothian Council’s performance review committee heard that reports on the local authority’s care at home service and two homes had all reflected the good work of staff.

However, the award of a grade 4 to Newbyres Village care home was branded “disappointing” by committee convenor Councillor Catherine Johnstone.

Newbyres, Gorebridge, was at the centre of a major overhaul of management in recent years after receiving poor reports from the Care Inspectorate during visits.

Councillor Johnstone said that the grade amounted to “just above average”.

She told the virtual meeting of the committee: “There has been a huge investment in time and resources and we have a grade 4 and, while that is OK, it is a bit disappointing after huge investment.

“I thought it would be better, a grade 4 is just above average, if I was looking for care I’d be looking for excellent, not just average.”

Alison White, head of adult health and social care with the council, said that the inspection at Newbyres, and also one at Highbank Care Facility, Eskbank, which also received a grade 4, focussed on their response to Covid-19 rather than general services.

She said: “The inspections were looking very specifically at their response to Covid.

“It was more looking at infection control. It is the first time we have had that type of inspection.”

And she pointed to the comments from the Care Inspectorate on both home visits and the council’s care at home service, which praised staff.

She told the meeting: “Given these were carried out during Covid, seeing improvement across all areas is really positive and reflective of the good work of management, there is really significant improvement particularly in care at home.

“Some of the comments the Care Inspectorate has made, particularly about staff being kind and caring, consistency and relationships are really welcome.”

The council’s care at home service also received grade 4 for its Covid-19 response, leadership and care and support.

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