Shock as St Joseph’s Hospice placed in special measures
THE oldest hospice in Merseyside has been placed in special measures after a care watchdog uncovered serious failings.
St Joseph’s Hospice, in Ince Blundell – previously known by many as Jospice – has now been banned from accepting any new patients.
It follows a visit by CQC inspectors in July, which found the facility provided neither a safe nor effective service.
Officials from the hospice said they were “disappointed” by the findings.
But they added that they have recently overhauled its operation in a bid to address concerns.
The inspection of the facility, which offers specialist end-of-life care for up to 29 patients at a time, revealed medicine was not always administered safely, accurate care records were not always maintained and there were cases where patients’ privacy and dignity were not respected.
Problems included a feeding system being used to prop open a fire door and failures to provide medicine as it had been prescribed.
Other problems highlighted included:
Concerns around the way some medicines were given and recorded, which placed people at “high risk of harm”;
Staff not being supported through appraisals, supervision and the hospice’s training programme;
When patients were unable to consent to treatment, their mental health was not always assessed – meaning the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 were not always followed.
While care records were kept in a locked office, staff sometimes took them into communal areas where visitors could see confidential information.
And the friend of one patient raised concerns they could see the arrival of the undertaker at the premises from their room – which they found “distressing”.
While the CQC highlighted failings at the hospice, the centre and its staff were praised by patients.
The report said: “All of the people and relatives interviewed stated that staff were caring and kind.
“Several indicated that the hospice was a very quiet, caring environment and that they had nothing but praise for the care that was given.”
The hospice had also received very positive comments from relatives on the I Want Great Care website.
July’s inspection came after two last year which led to the hospice being identified as requiring improvement.
Responding to the report, Jospice’s chair of trustees, George Foster, said the hospice was now providing “a more professional, safer service than ever before”.
This was, he said, because of an overhaul of services designed to address concerns previously raised by the CQC.
Mr Foster said the changes were still being made at the time of the last inspection.
He said: “In the past year, we have revised and improved our clinical governance structure and processes, implemented a new staff training system and have been working closely with our local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and other clinical stakeholders to address other long-standing issues, and this process remains on track.
“St Joseph’s Hospice maintains a consistent five star rating from the national patient survey, ‘I Want Great Care’ which is available to view online.
“A clinical quality visit took place last week, as part of an ongoing review to check the progress on quality standards.
“The feedback was that improvements had been noted.
“Our patients, families, staff and members of our community can be assured that the hospice is now providing a more professional, safer service than ever before, but one which is as compassionate and caring as people have come to expect.”
Explaining its decision to place the hospice in special measures, the CQC said: “Over a period of three inspections, from July, 2016, we have found serious failings with medicine management that have exposed people using the services to risk of significant harm.”
The CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care, Debbie Westhead, said: “People are entitled to services providing safe, effective, responsive and highquality care.
“We found that St Joseph’s Hospice, although providing a highly-valued service, was falling short of the standards that are required.
“It is a matter of concern that, on three successive inspections, we have identified significant areas for improvement.
“At this latest inspection in July, we found some of the same safety issues remained, but we also found fresh concerns.
“We have now taken action to ensure there are no further admissions until these matters are dealt with properly.
“A period in special measures will allow the hospice to seek the support it needs to address our concerns and protect the people in their care.
“We are working closely with partners, including clinical commissioning groups, to ensure people’s safety.”
The hospice, which was awarded the Freedom of Liverpool in 2013, will be re-inspected in six months.
St Joseph’s Hospice – Jospice – in Ince Blundell, left and below, which has been banned from accepting any new patients by the Care Quality Commission, after serious failings were discovered in a series of inspections
Improvements are ongoing – Jospice Chair of Trustees George Foster