August 8, 2016
Brent Knoll's Mendip House care home to shut over abuse inquiry

A care home in Brent Knoll that is being investigated by police over allegations of abuse is to shut, its owners have announced this week.

It comes after Mendip House was branded "inadequate" by Care Quality Commission inspectors.

Staff at the home did not meet the "basic needs" of residents, who have autism, and its failings were "unacceptable", CQC inspectors said.

The National Autistic Society (NAS) announced the closure on Monday, saying it had "failed badly" its residents.

The charity said police and Somerset County Council's safeguarding team are investigating a number of serious allegations of abuse, neglect and the degrading treatment of people.

Avon and Somerset Police said it could not comment further on the allegations at this stage.

NAS provides various day services for the six residents at the home, in the grounds of Somerset Court.

The CQC inspectors found people living in the service had not been kept safe. A number of serious allegations, such as abuse, neglect and degrading treatment of people, had been made. One staff member raised their concerns with inspectors directly as they had no confidence that the provider would take their concerns seriously and act on them. The concerns were reported to the police and the local authority safeguarding team immediately whose investigations continue.

Overall, inspectors found the home had been poorly managed with chaotic record keeping.

Jane Harris, NAS director, said: "It is evident that the standards in Mendip House had been deteriorating for some time - and we should have picked this up sooner."

"When members of staff separately alerted us and the CQC to unacceptable staff behaviour in May, we immediately made sure our residents were safe, contacted other partners and appointed an independent investigator. We are now taking disciplinary action against local management and staff."

She added that while there was no evidence of residents coming to physical harm, people had been put at risk by some staff neglecting their duties and failing to follow procedures. NAS is now working to find new homes for the residents.

Debbie Ivanova, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said: "Everyone who uses this service has a right to safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care."

"I am extremely concerned that Mendip House has failed to meet even some of the most basic needs for the people living there. These are unacceptable failings and must not be allowed to continue."

"After discussions, the provider, The National Autistic Society, have informed us they are taking action to cancel the registration of Mendip house and learn from the failings found at the last CQC inspection."

"In the meantime we will continue to work with Somerset County Council and the National Autistic Society to ensure that people are safe and are in a position to receive care more appropriate for their needs."

"If we do not see immediate changes in care we will not hesitate to use our enforcement powers to ensure improvements take place."


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