STAFF’S ability to track and monitor patients’ medication at an Old Town care home was thrown in question by a health watchdog following a surprise inspection.

Sporadic medication stock checks were deemed a concern by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after an unscheduled visit to Fairhaven Residential Home.

The home failed to meet the adequate standard expected for ‘caring for people safely and protecting them from harm’ through poor medicine management, inspectors said.

It did, however, achieve the remaining four out five criteria all hospitals and health providers are evaluated on by the watchdog.

Management at the home said they have worked to put the situation right and devised new policy to deal with the inspector’s comments.

In a report published this month following the inspection on February 5, an unnmaned inspector said: “We found that the provider could not ensure that medicines were prescribed and given by staff safely in order to protect people.

“The stock check identified for example missed signatures on the Medicine Administration Record (MAR) charts and the incorrect amount of medicines in stock.

“The controlled drug book was in place but we found it difficult to track the medicines as the index had not been completed.”

He added: “We reviewed the medicines for a person who was on respite care.

“Staff informed us that the person was able to self-administer their medicines and therefore they did not record the medicines on the MAR chart. This meant that the provider was unable to account for prescribed medicines being brought into or leaving the home. We were unable to conduct a stock check to ensure that no medicines had gone missing. ”

Despite this, medicines were found to be well ordered and the medicine fridge’s temperature checked at regular intervals.

This failing was deemed minor by inspectors who found patients were treated with ‘kindness and patience’ by staff. Their safety and protection was met in every other aspect of care, according to the document.

General manager at Fairhaven, Lorraine Sawyer, explained that measures had been put in place to improve medication management.

“Everything is in place now,” she said. “It was all done a week after they left. The problem was mainly due to policy. We sent the CQC all the updates they needed and it’s up to them whether they come back to check everything.

“We knew we had a problem area and we were dealing with it at the time they came.”