A CARE provider has been slammed by medical watchdogs for putting patients at risk and failing to manage medicines safely.

Birchwood Care Home in Newbury received a damning assessment from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and has been branded 'inadequate' overall.

The centre has 60 beds and caters for adults with a range of needs and has been run by West Berkshire Council since June, but has now been put into special measures.

However, inspectors were particularly critical of Birchwood's leadership and responded to intelligence after complaints about poor management and failure to report incidents.

The report reads: "People were not kept safe. Risk assessments and comprehensive documentation was not in place to ensure people were offered responsive safe care and treatment.

"Care plans contained minimal information, often leaving out crucial information. For example, one care plan did not document how frequently a person required assistance with personal care. This meant they were at risk of their basic needs not being met and increased the potential of the person's skin being damaged.

"Medicines were not managed safely. During a medicine round we observed the medicine trolley was left unlocked and unattended for a brief period of time. A person was witnessed approaching the trolley.

"Staff did not appropriately record information. Incidents were not reported, and information was not accurately updated in daily records.

"We found that the service did not have adequate management and leadership. Staff we spoke with raised concerns about the registered manager's ability to oversee the service.

Birchwood was rated 'inadequate' in three of the five key areas of assessment and required improvement in the effectiveness and caring categories.

Deborah Ivanova, deputy chief inspector of Adult Social Care in CQC’s south region, said: “It is important the people who live in these services can rely on getting the high quality care which everyone is entitled to.

“Inspectors found these services were failing to provide the level of care people should be able to expect.

“We found a number of concerns and we will continue to monitor these services and we will inspect again in six months to check whether improvements have been made.

“I expect the homes will do what is required for the sake of the people living there, but if we find that any of these services remain inadequate, we will not hesitate to take further appropriate action.”