Bosses at Dumbarton's Baxter View affirm commitment to improvements after whistleblower's concerns

GV of Baxter View Care Home
Bosses at Baxter View in Garshake have said they are working to improve the service. -Credit:Lennox Herald

Bosses at a Dumbarton sheltered housing complex say they are committed to improvements, after a whistleblower highlighted concerns over thefts and a cyber attack.

Baxter View in Garshake is operated by Cornerstone Community Care, a national organisation, which is a registered charity.

A former staff member contacted the Lennox over the quality of care, saying that a cyber attack left sensitive information about vulnerable adults and staff exposed.

She claimed that there were incidents of theft from residents and staff areas, and also claimed that the building was falling into disrepair.

The whistleblower, who left her role after four years in February, said: “We had a cyber security attack that cause all the systems to go down and a lot of sensitive information on vulnerable adults and staff exposed to a third party.

“The building is in complete disarray as repairs are barely carried out. There are holes in walls, carpet coming up, locks not working and windows smashed. A lot of which have been this way for over a year.

“We have had thefts from vulnerable adults, both money and personal belongings. And the theft of staff property and money from the office and staff room.

“As staff we were often working 10, 12 or even 14 hour shifts without a proper break.

“And there were regular issues with the pay system, which caused us to be underpaid - and then taxed heavier when that was made up.”

She added that the stress left her constantly unwell and tired, and forced her to resign.

The former staff member continued: “It’s been horrible as I had very strong relationships with the people I looked after.

“Although it was a professional relationship I cared for them and classed them as friends.

“But I could no longer work there as their needs and wishes were not being met.

“It was extremely challenging and started to really take its toll on me.

“I couldn’t cope with it anymore as I didn’t feel that the care standards were being met and the people we support were being failed all the time.

“Mentally I was so down and anxious. I was constantly unwell and tired.

“In only a few months I am back to myself and enjoying life again. I’m in a new care location now and it’s like night and day.”

The £1.75million state-of-the-art building opened in 2015 and contains eight flats (six of them one-bedroom, the others with two bedrooms), a common recreational area, a sensory room and offices.

In January, Baxter View was branded ‘weak’ in a Care Inspectorate review - with a report saying: “We found that staff morale had been low due to the lack of support to discuss their workload.”

It added: “The quality of people’s experiences were often negatively affected when staff supporting them did not know them well.

“People were not always kept safe, and staff were inconsistent in their reporting of concerns about the safety and wellbeing of people.

“Not all staff were clear about the support required or how to provide it in line with the individual’s needs and wishes.

“This meant that people were not always being supported to achieve their wishes and aspirations and people were not always protected from harm.”

Baxter View in Dumbarton
Baxter View in Dumbarton received a critical Care Inspectorate report. -Credit:Lennox Herald

Colin Phillips, director of delivery for Cornerstone said: “The health, wellbeing and safety of all the people we support, and our colleagues, is an absolute priority for Cornerstone.

“We have safeguards in place to ensure the finances and belongings of the people we support are appropriately managed and kept safe, including financial audits, a Finance Policy, Data Protection Policy, Conduct Policy, Grievance Policy and Whistleblowing Policy.

“Our Conduct Policy clearly outlines the appropriate behaviours Cornerstone expects of all colleagues in order to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct and professional practice in accordance with our values and statutory, regulatory and legislative requirements.

“Colleagues are encouraged and supported to report any breaches of conduct, complaints or concerns and all such concerns or complaints raised are taken seriously and fully investigated until resolved.

“Our ongoing programme of building works at Baxter View is addressing any required repairs to ensure a suitable, stable and safe living and working environment.

“Cornerstone was the victim of a cyber incident earlier this year. The incident was detected and we immediately put in place best practice response protocols and containment measures, including taking all impacted systems offline, appointing a cyber incident response specialist and notifying all relevant authorities.

“By taking swift action we contained the effects of the cyber security attack and were able to continue delivering our vital services as usual.

“We are following the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidelines in relation to any personal data that was impacted by this event.”