A Nottinghamshire care home which was investigated by police after a series of deaths has been told to improve by NHS managers.
Police said on Friday they were satisfied there had been no wrongdoing at Springwater Lodge Care Home, Calverton, after examining the deaths of six residents.
Detectives first launched a murder inquiry in August but later discovered all the residents had died of natural causes and no-one was at fault. Two people arrested in connection with the inquiry were released without charge.
However, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) brought forward an inspection of the home after police contacted it about how drugs were administered to residents.
And representatives of the local NHS Clinical Commissioning group carried out an infection control audit as recently as last month – and discovered there are still areas the home “needs to work on”.
The report of the CQC’s inspection, carried out in September while police were still investigating, says it was brought forward “as a result of information received from the police about the way people were receiving medication”, without providing further detail.
The report adds: “The inspection did not look at the specific incidents being investigated but did look at whether medicines were being managed safely.”
Inspectors gave the home an overall ‘requires improvement’ rating, saying processes for managing medicines had improved since a previous inspection, but added “further improvements were required with regard to the administration of prescribed creams”.
It also highlighted concerns over cleanliness, saying drinking glasses were in some cases “very dirty, with tidemarks and dried lip stains which indicated they may have not been changed for a while”.
Elsewhere in the report staff at the home were praised for showing a caring attitude towards residents and many other requirements were being met correctly.
After the inspection, the CQC contacted Nottingham North and East Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), responsible for managing NHS services in the area.
It asked the CCG to visit the home again after it had carried out an infection control audit in May 2016.
A spokesman for the CCG told Notts TV News it then carried out another infection control audit last month (December), adding: “We found that while improvements have been made, there are still areas Springwater Lodge need to work on.”
The CCG declined to elaborate further on the latest findings.
In a statement the home’s operators, care firm HC One, said: “Following the Coroner’s ruling that the residents died of natural causes, and the police finding that there was no wrongdoing, the investigation has been closed.
“Our deepest condolences remain with the bereaved families.
“We want to thank everyone in the community for their support for the home during this difficult time.
“Delivering the kindest possible care is at the heart of everything we do and we are grateful for the thoughtful words of our residents and their relatives. Their health, safety and wellbeing will always be our number one priority.”
The company said two members of staff who were arrested and suspended during the police investigation have now returned to work after being released without charge.
The company added: “The action plan was sent to CQC ahead of the due date which the home is working to. The home has received the PIR (provider information request) from CQC, therefore, they will be re-inspected after this has been submitted.
“The infection control team for the CCG did return following the CQC visit on 21st December 2016, noted improvements and only minor concerns, an action plan is in place.
“The home has had a quality monitoring visit from the local authority on November 10 and remained a band four (Good).”