'We're sorry': St Luke’s Hospice Kenton Grange rated 'inadequate'

St Luke's Hospice

St Luke's Hospice has been rated 'inadequate' by the Care Quality Commission - Credit: St Luke's Hospice

St Luke’s Hospice Kenton Grange has been placed in special measures after being rated ‘inadequate’ overall by the Care Quality Commission.

The charity, which provides specialist palliative and clinical support for adults with life limiting illnesses in Brent and Harrow, has expressed “extreme disappointment”. 

The report released this week marked St Luke’s as ‘good’ for being a ‘caring’ and ‘responsive’ outfit. But the other key areas of inspection found it ‘inadequate’ for being a ‘safe’ or ‘well-led’ organisation, and it was found to ‘require improvement’ to make it an ‘effective’ trust. 

In their unannounced visit, inspectors found the service “did not always control infection risk well,” did not ensure staff completed mandatory training, and the design of the facilities did not always keep people safe.

In addition, they said medicines were not always well administered or stored, records were not always up to date, and leaders and teams “did not always identify and escalate relevant risks”. 

More positively, the report noted the service had enough staff to care for patients and keep them safe and staff provided good care and treatment and gave patients enough to eat and drink.

Alpana Malde, chief executive of St Luke’s Hospice and Gillian Schiller, chairman, released a joint statement after the centre dropped from the ‘good’ rating awarded in 2016.

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“We are pleased that the report recognises how valued we are by those who use our services but extremely disappointed with our overall downgrade,” the statement read. 

Chief Executive of St Luke’s Hospice, Alpana Malde. Picture: St Luke's Hospice

Chief executive of St Luke’s Hospice, Alpana Malde. - Credit: St Luke's Hospice

“We take this very seriously and have already reviewed and improved working practices ahead of the commission’s return visit.

“We are sorry and deeply disappointed by the downgrade.”

As a result of the report, the charity must demonstrate improvements have been made after six months. 

Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals, said: “If insufficient improvements have been made such that there remains a rating of inadequate overall or for any key question or core service, we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating the service.

Ann Hatswell, co-founder of St Luke's Hospice,was the first nurse when it opened in 1987

Ann Hatswell, co-founder of St Luke's Hospice, was the first nurse when it opened in 1987. - Credit: St Luke's Hospice / Archant

"This will lead to cancelling their registration or to varying the terms of their registration within six months if they do not improve. The service will be kept under review and, if needed, could be escalated to urgent enforcement action.”

The hospice has committed to working with the commission and have said the pandemic has placed further pressure on its resources. 

The statement from the two executives added: “These have been exceptional times. Our staff have worked tirelessly over a prolonged period in some very difficult circumstances - even increasing our capacity by nine per cent last year to help relieve pressure on the NHS. 

“We are immensely proud of everything our dedicated staff have achieved and are pleased that the inspectors have recognised our contribution to collaborative work in the community in addition to telling us that patients and families felt they received excellent care at St Luke’s.” 

Councillor Ketan Sheth, chairman of the community and wellbeing scrutiny committee at Brent Council, said: “I am disappointed that St Luke’s Hospice, Kenton Grange has been rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission. My committee is keeping a watching brief to ensure that Brent residents aren’t adversely impacted.”