Inspectors say a Stoke-on-Trent service which cares for people at home, instead of them having to stay in hospital, is not always safe.
Home First – Stoke was visited by the Care Quality Commission between 30 October and 6 November 2018, when 111 people were receiving personal care from the team.
Inspectors found people did not receive support at a time that suited their personal circumstances or individual preferences.
Their report also raised concerns it did not have a registered manager in post at the time.
But it did note that “people were safe as staff members had been trained and understood how to support people in a way that protected them from danger, harm and abuse …People had positive relationships with the staff members who supported them. People's care and support needs and preferences were known by staff who assisted them in a way which was personal to them. People were involved in decisions about their care and had information they needed in a way they understood”.
The service has been given good ratings for being effective, caring and responsive, but told to improve on being safe and well led - with issues including timeliness and consistency of staff visiting.
This led to an overall rating of Requires Improvement.
Jennie Collier, Managing Director for Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Home First – Stoke is one of eight Home First services we provide and I am very proud of the staff who were involved in this first inspection.
“The service received a good rating in the majority of areas reviewed; caring, effective and responsive.
“The report states that “Everyone we spoke with told us they felt safe and protected when receiving care and support.” This is a significant achievement for such a busy service.
“Two key areas for improvement were identified; timeliness and consistency of staff visiting and not having a registered manager in place.
“We currently provide specific times for patients with a specific health need such as medication that is prescribed at a specific time or palliative care patients. All other patients are given a four hour time slot.
"We appreciate that this is not convenient for everyone and we had already identified this through our own feedback mechanisms. We have introduced daily rotas and reviewed the areas in which people work to improve this. We also use care and support plans to ensure that the support received is consistent even if the staff member is different. And these were recognised in the report as being in line with best practice.
“We didn’t have a registered manager in place at the time of the inspection but had submitted the required notifications. The interim service manager understood the requirements of the CQC and was meeting them. Staff spoke highly of the management team and described them as approachable.
"Following the CQC inspection, we introduced a senior coordinator post to meet the registration requirements.”