CQC logoA learning disability residential service in Bicester, which was found to not be meeting essential standards by care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in January, is still failing in some areas a follow-up inspection has found.

The service, 4 Piggy Lane in Bicester, Oxfordshire, which consists of two bungalows, each able to provide accommodation for five people with learning and physical disabilities and is run by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, was found to be still failing in 3 areas when the unannounced inspection was carried out in April. These areas were: care and welfare of people who use services; assessing and monitoring the service provision; and records.

But 4 Piggy Lane did meet the standards for safeguarding people who use services from abuse and staffing.

In the January inspection, of the 6 minimum standards that were assessed, 4 Piggy Lane met only a single standard. For the standard of assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision, enforcement action was taken, the remainder required improvement.

Following the April inspection, for which the report has just been published, inspectors noted that while improvements had been made to the service – and that it does provide a caring service which is delivered by care workers who showed warmth, compassion and respect for the people they supported – some services were still not effective.

As a result of the findings, the CQC has asked Southern Health to send them a report by July 15, setting out the action they will take to meet the standards. “We will check to make sure that this action is taken,” the report said.

A statement from Southern Health recognised that the outcomes at 4 Piggy Lane remain unacceptable.

"We are committed to providing a high quality service for the people we support and, following the CQC inspection, have put a robust action plan in place to ensure that we are compliant in all areas of our service,” it said.

"The CQC have acknowledged that, since our last inspection, there have been significant improvements in all areas that were found to be non–compliant and recognise that in some areas a longer timescale is needed to be able to evidence these improvements. 

“These actions will continue to be reviewed and monitored by the CQC, our commissioners and ourselves to ensure that the service is meeting the required standards.”

Currently, Southern Health is working with Oxfordshire County Council to and the local clinical commissioning group to support a review of learning disability services ahead of its current contract expiring in December 2015. While there is speculation that the Council may not renew Southern Health’s contract, the latter stress no decision has been taken.