East End care homes ‘need to improve’ Quality Commission warns

Carolyn Meridan

Carolyn Meridan - Credit: Archant

A care home where veteran east London campaigner Carolyn Meriden lives has been named this week as “requiring improvement”.

Carolyn Meridan

Carolyn Meridan - Credit: Archant

Pat Shaw House in Stepney Green is one of two East End care homes on the hit list for improvements issued by the Care Quality Commission.

Pat Shaw and the nearby Peter Shore home, both run by Gateway Housing, need improvement along with 10 others across London, the Commission warns.

“We want them to have a full plan setting out how they will address the issues that have been identified,” the commission’s Deputy Chief Inspector Sally Warren said. “We will return to check that the required improvements have been made — and consider taking further action to protect the health and wellbeing of service users.”

Pat Shaw House was “not safe in all areas”, the Commission found. Staffing levels were under review, but “did not address mental health needs”.

Night staff had not taken part in a fire drill, its report stressed. Dietary needs were not always met, with the service “not effective” in eating and drinking requirements.

Information in care plans varied from good to patchy. Staff did not always have up-to-date procedures to guide them, it said.

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Small things combined which amounted to “a breach of regulation” under the 2008 Health & Social Care Act. Inconsistencies remained—but the service was caring and staff were skilled at supporting those in distress.

Gateway’s director Jane Ball described the report as “a journey of improvement” assuring that steps were under way.

She said: “We’re not completely there yet, but are improving, although we’re not complacent.”

Both two care homes are recruiting for permanent staff, after filling gaps with agency staff that Gateway says it now wants to replace.

Pat Shaw’s once-active and outspoken resident Carolyn Merion, now 90, who moved into the home in 2011 following a hip operation, was regularly featured in the East London Advertiser with her campaigns.

Carolyn, despite her frailty, helped save the Bancroft archive library at Mile End when it faced closure in 2009.

She also once occupied renowned showbiz photographer Harry Diamond’s council flat in Stepney while he was in hospital, before he died in 2009, to protect his lifetime collection of unique East End photographs which was later bequeathed to the National Portrait Gallery—thanks to Carolyn’s determination.