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Managers defend weak report into Viewforth

SIC social services chairman Cecil Smith is confident Viewforth is being properly managed.

COMMUNITY care managers in Shetland have moved to reassure local people that standards are being improved at a Lerwick residential home for adults with dementia and mental health problems.

It emerged this week that Viewforth House had been graded “weak” by the Care Inspectorate during an unannounced inspection in December last year.

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A follow up inspection six months later in May showed that only one of five action points demanded by the inspectors had been met.

As a result the care home was still graded ‘weak’, the second lowest score after ‘unsatisfactory’, on all four categories of quality of care and support, quality of environment, quality of staffing, and leadership and management. 

After their second visit inspectors made several observations and recommendations, mostly concerning inadequate record keeping. 

Since the May visit an interim manager for the home has been appointed and an action plan put in place, which is being monitored on a weekly basis. 

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Shetland’s interim director of community care Simon Bokor Ingram said that improvements had been made between the two inspections, however they had not been able to demonstrate that properly when inspectors returned in May. 

“Improvements had started to be made, they had not been made fast enough between December and May this year and we have accelerated that and we are monitoring progress very closely,” he told BBC Radio Shetland. 

He added that management at Viewforth was “in robust shape”, and that staff worked “very hard and provide really good care”. 

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“What we need to do is make sure that the standards that have been set by the Care Inspectorate are met and that we can evidence that.” 

Shetland Islands Council social services committee chairman Cecil Smith said that while he was disappointed in the report, he was convinced there was a robust plan now in place that was being well monitored. 

He stressed the report did not suggest residents’ care was affected by the weaknesses highlighted by the inspectors, and pointed out that the general standard of inspection reports of Shetland care homes was very high.

A report on the future of Viewforth is to be presented in April, with one suggestion being that it close and residents be placed in other establishments.

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