CARE HOME CLOSED AFTER visit from FIRE SERVICE

LANCASHIRE FIRE and Rescue Service (LFRS) issued Morvern Care Centre in Cleveleys with the prohibition order after discovering ‘extensive non-compliance’ with fire safety regulations.

Blackpool Gazette reported on the order issued by LFRS to the home ‘amid serious safety concerns’, and followed orders to make immediate improvements by care home regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in September. The home had been found then to have an ‘inadequate’ care rating, and had followed a report from April that rated it as ‘requires improvement’ with ‘not enough’ improvements made between those two inspections.

The CQC’s latest report, in late November, ‘outlined serious concerns about the safety of residents, but the home was allowed to stay open and a new management team was installed by owner Raj Shah. After this however, an LFRS visit saw the fire and rescue service issue the prohibition notice, ordering the home to close ‘immediately’ as a result of ‘inadequate fire safety measures’.

An LFRS spokesperson stated: ‘[LFRS] issued a prohibition notice to the owners and operators of the Morvern Care Centre in Cleveleys on Monday December 7. This follows an inspection at the premises on the Promenade which highlighted significant concerns for the safety of staff and residents should a fire occur in the building. The home was recently placed under special measures by the [CQC] and we were requested to evaluate fire safety standards.

‘Our fire safety inspectors identified a range of fire safety management and maintenance issues. These findings are incompatible with a home that has such a high proportion of vulnerable residents who require assistance to escape if there is a fire. Whilst some improvements can be made in the short term the extent of non-compliance is extensive and requires lengthy remedial works.

‘Temporary measures are in place in the short-term to protect residents, including elevated staffing numbers and dedicated fire wardens, however, these measures are intensive and can only be sustained for a short period of time. Prohibition notices are prepared and issued with great care and are only used in circumstances when the potential risk to life from fire is substantial and cannot be reduced quickly.

‘The safety of residents and staff is at the heart of this decision making and this is why extensive liaison has taken place with the [CQC], Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council, to ensure that residents are kept safe in the short-term and that any subsequent impacts in terms of their future movements are safe, planned and undertaken in full liaison with families.’

As a result of the legal status of the prohibition notice as well as the current investigation, LFRS was ‘unable to specify exactly’ what fire risks had been discovered, and the closure has seen Lancashire County Council’s adult social care team make arrangement to move 40 residents into new care facilities across the county.

Tony Pounder, director of the adult social care team, added: ‘The safety of the residents of Morvern has to be our foremost concern and so council social workers are now contacting residents and their families to explain the position and provide information about alternative care homes which can accommodate them and meet their care needs.

‘We know this will be an anxious time for all of the people living and working at Morvern but our staff will do everything we can to keep them safe and support them to make the right decisions about their future.’

The November CQC report shared concerns over ‘the management of risk’ and ‘the condition of the living environment’, and highlighted ‘widespread and systematic failings’, adding that ‘although people told us they felt safe living at Morvern Care Centre, the service was not safe. Risk was not always assessed and managed to protect people from exposure to harm’

CQC head of inspection for adult social care Hayley Moor commented: ‘CQC has worked very closely with [LFRS], Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council with regards to Morven Care Centre, in Cleveleys, and the care and welfare of people using the service. Our priority remains the safety of those people living at this service and we have taken urgent action to suspend the registration of the provider.

‘We took this action because we believe if we didn’t, people using the service may be exposed to the risk of harm. The provider has the right to appeal and further information will be published by CQC when we are able to do so. We are in touch with the provider and will continue to work with both the local authorities, the fire service and Blackpool and Fylde CCG.’

Despite concerns, residents’ relatives were pleased with the staff, and were shocked at the home closing, though acknowledged ‘the home was in obvious need of repair’. Mr Shah responded: ‘Morvern Care Centre is a very old building and has been changed to accommodate the needs of residents in the last 30 years. We had a detailed fire safety audit last week.

‘We have been updated with fire audit findings on Monday December 7 2020; here they informed us they deemed the Morvern Care Centre to be unsafe for residents. Fire authorities served enforcement notice and provided a three month time frame to make the building fire safety compliant. They have also issued prohibition notice to close the premises.

CQC has suspended our registration for three months in line with the fire safety enforcement notice so we can do all needed fire safety work’

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