A Swindon homecare service has been labelled unsafe in a damning report by the health watchdog.

Care 24/7 Solutions Limited, based at The Shaftesbury Centre in Percy Street, has been rated 'requires improvement' by the Care Quality Commission.

At the time of the inspection in November, Care 24/7 supported 22 people with dementia and other physical and sensory needs living at home in and around Wiltshire.

The report published the following month found ‘people were not safe and were at risk of avoidable harm’.

Care 24/7 was handed the lowest possible rating - inadequate - for safety.

Inspectors found risk of abuse and failure to follow-up abuse allegations. The report says: “The service had failed to operate effective systems to identify, investigate and appropriately respond to allegations of abuse.”

It continues:  “In April 2023 a person made contact with police to make an allegation. 

"The service asked a staff member to provide an account, however there was no evidence available of subsequent follow up with the person, and the nominated individual confirmed the service had not notified the local safeguarding authority.”

In another example, it says: “We reviewed the supervision record for a member of staff who had allegedly caused a person to be uncomfortable and fearful. 

"The supervision record did not evidence how the concern was explored with the member of staff.”

Another noteworthy concern was with the risk of financial abuse. It says: “We asked for evidence of checks in relation to one person, and the nominated individual stated receipts were kept. 

"Following our inspection, the nominated individual provided a screenshot showing financial transactions. This did not address the risk of staff being aware of the person's PIN.”

A third concern was with inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE).

The report quotes patients and families as saying: "They wear gloves but no aprons", "Not all of them wear the [uniform] but they do wear gloves" and "always gloves, not masks and some wear aprons."

The CQC found the interview process was inadequate to ensure hired staff were of good character or experienced enough.

It reported: “Responses to interview questions were limited and sometimes staff gave a one-word answer. 

One staff recorded that if a person fell they would ring the bell, which was not an appropriate response for a domiciliary care service. 

Another staff had been asked if they knew anything about safeguarding policies and their recorded response had only been 'Yes'.”

The report also found the service required improvement in its leadership and governance.

But the report does say that Care 24/7 was responsive to feedback, and some feedback was positive. It was rated 'good' in three of the five categories but 'requires improvement' for well-led.

Care 24/7 was approached for comment but has yet to respond.