THE ability of staff to meet patients’ needs and protect them from harm at Purity Care has been thrown into question after the service failed to meet four of the five basic standards required by the health watchdog.

Following an inspection at the end of May, the Care Quality Commission raised serious concerns about the provider, which is based in Percy Street, Rodbourne, but employs carers to look after people in their homes.

There were also questions over its commitment to patients’ safety and welfare.

While inspectors agreed patients were treated with respect and given a say in the treatment they received, they found the service had fallen short in three of its duties of care as well as in making adequate background checks on every employee.

In their report, published this month, inspectors felt that patients were put ‘at risk of inappropriate care and treatment’.

“The service was not always responsive to people’s needs,” they said.

“People being supported through the sub-contracting arrangement did not always receive a service that met their needs.

“Where there were late or missed visits these were not recorded or monitored. Staff told us they report to the registered manager if they were going to be late. However there was no evidence to indicate what happened as a result.

“Care records were sometimes inaccurate, which put people at risk of inappropriate care and treatment.”

The service in general was not up to scratch, with few monitoring policies and risk assessment measures in place. And appropriate background checks did not appear to be systematically carried out for each new employee.

“The service was not always well led,” the report went on. “There were no systems in place to monitor the quality of the service, either for the direct contracting or sub-contracting arrangements.

“There was no system in place to record, investigate and learn from accidents and incidents.

“Appropriate checks were not always undertaken before staff began work. Appropriate references were not always obtained. For example, one file contained no references. Some references on file did not identify who the referee was and their relationship to the employee.

“Some application forms contained gaps in employment histories. This meant that people were at risk of being cared for by unsuitable staff.”

Inspectors added that staff training also left a lot to be desired. “The registered manager had limited understanding of their responsibilities in relation to keeping people safe,” they said. “The registered manager told us they had accessed on-line safeguarding training but we saw no record of this.

“Staff we spoke with had limited understanding in relation to safeguarding and were unable to tell us where they would report their concerns outside of the organisation.”

The Advertiser attempted to contact Purity Care on several occasions, but no one was available to comment.