A COUNCIL-run care home that was previously slammed for putting patients at risk is starting to make progress in the eyes of the medical watchdog.

Birchwood Care Home in Newbury came under fire from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and was rated 'Inadequate' in November 2017.

The centre was plunged into special measures and a series of follow-up visits were held to monitor the progress of care and leadership.

Inspectors visited Birchwood at the end of May and the beginning of June and changed the rating to 'Requires Improvement' to reflect the progress.

West Berkshire Council (WBC) took over the care home in 'challenging circumstances' in June 2017 and was 'disappointed' when it received the lowest possible rating.

Graham Bridgman, the executive member for Adult Social Care, said: “We knew that this would be the best rating that we would get because of the CQC policy that meant we could not jump more than one grade, but we take on board all of the issues raised.

"Having said this, the Inspection was in May and we have never said that this was our finished product – when I visited Birchwood last month I found the manager and staff enthusiastic about the care they were providing, and a great deal of work being undertaken to further improve the facilities for residents.

"We are already seeing positive feedback from residents, relatives and staff and, whilst there are always lessons to be learned, it is our firm intention to make changes that are sustainable. This may take a little longer than both we and the CQC would like but it is vital that we work towards long term improvement.”

While the report flags some specific issues to be addressed, there were a number of positive comments within the report that reflected the range of improvements already in place.

When the service was rated 'Inadequate', inspectors were particularly critical of Birchwood's leadership and responded to intelligence after complaints about poor management and failure to report incidents.