VULNERABLE and dependent people in Swindon have been put at risk by unsafe medicine practices, poor staffing supervision and missed home visits by a town centre nursing agency.

Prestige Nursing Swindon in Morley Street has been criticised by inspectors in a report published last week, which found the nursing and homecare agency was failing its clients, many of whom are elderly, disabled or suffering with dementia.

Bosses at the organisation have already installed a new manager and begun making changes to meet the standards expected by Care Quality Commission (CQC), the nation’s health and social care regulator.

In four of five inspection areas, Prestige failed to meet basic requirements during its announced, pre-planned inspection across October 13 and 14.

At the previous CQC visit in September 2014, there were no issues reported at all.

Two inspectors spoke with four people who used the service, three relatives and six staff at the agency, which currently provides at-home care for 58 people, before reaching their conclusions.

Friday’s (NOV 27) report said: “People were placed at risk from unsafe medicine practices. The administering of people’s medicines were not being recorded correctly.

“This meant that it was unclear if people were receiving their medicines when they required them.”

It also picked up on poor supervision from managers: “Staff were not receiving regular one-to-one supervision with their line manager.

“This meant their performance was not being monitored effectively and feedback was not being provided.

“An action plan had been put in place, by the manager, to start supervising staff members and to monitor that this would continue to be done on a regular basis.”

It added: “Staff sickness had been a significant concern for the company and this had resulted in missed visits or the people using the service.

“The manager had spent time addressing this area and preventative measures had been put in place to reduce the risk of people being left without care.”

Prestige did receive a good rating for its care: “People and relatives were complimentary about the caring nature of staff.

“Staff were knowledgeable about people’s needs and we were told that care was provided with patience and kindness.

“People’s privacy and dignity was always respected. Staff explained the importance of supporting people to make choices about their daily lives.”

Carol Hunt, commercial director at Prestige Nursing and Care, said: “We take all care inspections very seriously and have taken immediate action to address the areas of improvement highlighted in Friday’s report on our Swindon branch.

“We are grateful for the recognition of the caring service it provides, and deeply regret that we have fallen short in other areas since our previous inspection to provide a well-led, responsive and safe quality of care.

“Our clients are our top priority and under our new manager we are in the process of making all the necessary improvements so they can be confident in the quality of care they receive.”