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'Urgent action' taken to protect residents at 'inadequate' Minster residential home Little Oyster


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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has taken "urgent action" to protect residents at one of Sheppey's most established residential homes after a damning report into conditions there.

Inspectors this week rated the Little Oyster at The Leas, Minster, "inadequate" after a visit following tip-offs from whistle-blowers who said they had serious concerns about safety, staffing and management.

The Leas by The Little Oyster at Minster, Sheppey
The Leas by The Little Oyster at Minster, Sheppey

They found some call bells, used to request help, had been muted or switched off; residents had been left unclothed with their doors open and some were left at risk of choking.

The home, registered to look after 64 people with learning and physical disabilities and mental health conditions, has been ordered to stop taking new and returning residents until improvements are made

In a shocking report, Debbie Ivanova, CQC’s deputy chief inspector for people with a learning disability and autistic people, said: “Make no mistake, this was not a pleasant place to live for the people who called it home.

"When we inspected, some people asked us for help to contact their social worker to move them elsewhere because they were so deeply unhappy.

"Some people told us they were frightened and that they didn’t feel safe. Nobody should feel like this in their own home."

'Make no mistake, this was not a pleasant place to live...'

The home, in Seaside Avenue, is now rated "inadequate" for being safe, effective and well-led and "requires improvement" for its care and responsiveness.

In April it was deemed "good" but was revisited after whistle-blowers contacted the CQC.

Ms Ivanova said low staffing levels meant workers "didn’t have enough time to meet even the most basic of people’s needs."

People told inspectors they felt "isolated" while some who had falls were not sent for treatment.

There were no fire drills since November and one resident was locked in a flat each night with no fire escape.

The Little Oyster in Minster was rated as 'inadequate' by CQC inspectors
The Little Oyster in Minster was rated as 'inadequate' by CQC inspectors

One resident admitted: "I feel when asking for things I have to beg. This used to be a jolly place and nice to live. I wanted to die here because it is my home. Now I want to move."

Liam Herbert, on behalf of Little Oyster Ltd, said the home was "disappointed" by the report but had comprehensive plans for improvements.

He said the home was now fully staffed - with safeguarding training for all workers and a new process for reporting concerns - plus a new senior management team.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheerness

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