An 'inadequate' provider of care to hundreds of adults in Hillingdon could be shut down if drastic improvements are not made, within six months.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated Mears Homecare Limited in Hillingdon, as inadequate, placing the provider into special measures, after an inspection in December 2015.
Mears Homecare provides personal care and support to 300 people living within the borough of Hillingdon, and although patients can pay for their own care, the majority is funded by Hillingdon Council .
Personal care services include assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, taking medicines and home help covering all aspects of day-to-day housework, shopping, meal preparation and household duties.
Under CQC’s programme of inspections, all adult social care services are being given a rating to help people make informed choices about their care.
Failure to provide 'safe' services
In a report released on February 13, inspectors found that Mears Homecare was delivering caring services, required improvement in order to provide effective and responsive services, but was failing to provide services that were safe and well-led.
Inspectors found that the provider did not have appropriate systems in place to monitor the quality of the care provided and care workers did not have regular supervision or appraisals.
Records of medicines administered to people using the service were not always appropriately maintained. Care plans were not always fully completed and did not identify how people using the service wanted their care to be provided.
Although incidents and accidents were documented, action taken in response to minimise the risks to people using the service was not always recorded.
Sally Warren, CQC's Deputy Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care, said: “It is essential that Mears Homecare takes action to address the concerns we identified during the last inspection.
“The provider has a responsibility to ensure that people are receiving personal care that is responsive to their needs and that they are protected from the risk of harm at all times.
"When we judge that a provider is failing to deliver quality care for people using their services, the provider should make urgent improvements to the care they deliver.
People using the service had concerns regarding the number of care workers available during weekends and felt that the service was not well-led.
Staff shortages often led to late visits and staff working very long hours.
However, people using the service said that they felt safe when they received care and support, and that care workers were caring and treated them with dignity and respect.
The provider could face 'further action'
Ms Warren added: “We will re-inspect Mears Homecare to check whether sufficient improvements have been made.
"If sufficient improvements have not been made, we will take further action to protect people from poor care, which can include stopping the service from being delivered."
A spokesman for Mears Homecare Ltd say they were 'disappointed' by the CQC report, but would like to “reassure clients and the local community” that they are “working hard to improve services.”
The spokesman said: “We took over the day-to-day running of the home care service for the London Borough of Hillingdon in September last year and have since worked with the council to implement much-needed improvements.
“The CQC inspection in November and December highlighted areas in which we have already made progress, however we will continue to make further improvements in light of the report.”
A full report from the inspection has been published on the CQC website .