A CARE home which exposed vulnerable patients to harm failed to inform councillors of safeguarding concerns, it has been revealed.

West Berkshire councillors claimed to know nothing about the failings at Birchwood Care Home in Newbury when they met recently to discuss the future of the centre.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) berated the care home, claiming residents were 'not safeguarded from abuse'.

Inspectors served a damning overall rating of 'Inadequate' for the 60-bed facility, which has since had a new management team put in place.

A spokesman for West Berkshire Council said: "The council took over Birchwood in June when it had ‘requires improvement’ status and promptly identified further areas of concern which also needed tackling.

"We are already implementing a clear action plan to not only bring standards at Birchwood in line with our other care homes, which are all rated ‘Good’, but also to offer ten step down beds to help speed the recovery of people who would otherwise have to stay in a hospital.

"However, this will take longer than the four month period on which the CQC have judged.

"We are obviously disappointed with the judgement but acknowledge that there is work to be done to bring Birchwood up to our own high standards.

"We look forward to the next inspection and we expect many of our planned improvements to be well established by then."

The council took over the running of the home last year, but the healthcare watchdog carried out an unannounced visit after allegations of abuse were made by a member of the public.

The CQC identified several breaches and inspectors were particularly concerned about poor management and a failure to report incidents promptly.