Warning as care homes shamed in new health report

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A CITY councillor has warned care homes in Portsmouth will never be up to scratch unless health workers are given more incentives to stay in their jobs.

New figures show nearly half of care homes inspected in Portsmouth need to be bought up to standard.

A total of 13 out of 29 homes visited were rated either ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Milton councillor and the Liberal Democrats’ spokesman for adult social care, said the figures are down to low wages for care workers and the treatment of staff born elsewhere in the European Union.

According to the new research, compiled by Independent Age, 6.9 per cent of Portsmouth care homes inspected were rated ‘inadequate – the lowest rating given.

There are 50 care homes within the local authority area with 21 still to be inspected by health watchdog Care Quality Commission under their new system, started in May last year.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We have a whole mix of different organisations looking after care homes and one of those is the [city] council, which gives a pay rise to most people working there unless you are one of the lowest paid, like those working in health and social care, because it has been frozen.

‘My mum has been moving between care homes, and I‘ve seen how many people from the EU are working there and in the hospital.

‘The government, in its [Brexit] negotiations, say they will not give these people the certainty they will stay, and they have no incentive to stay here.

‘The NHS would collapse without them.’

Portsmouth City Council manages three care homes in the city – Edinburgh Lodge in Cosham, Hilsea Lodge in Hilsea and Shearwater in Milton – while the rest are privately managed.

All three are rated ‘requires improvement’, but only Hilsea has been inspected under the new system.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, the council cabinet member for adult social care, said: ‘These numbers are a little bit of a disappointment but that reflects the age of a lot of the buildings.

‘We have a lot of large Victorian buildings and inevitably they have a hard time reaching the required standards. But at many of the council-run care homes the standard of care is very good.’