A SERVICE providing home care for the elderly in Oxford has been slammed by the health watchdog after inspectors found a series of significant failings during an unannounced visit.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said that Acquire Care Ltd, based in Headington, had failed to properly report serious allegations of neglect, falsified records of home visits and on at least one occasion given the wrong medication to a resident in its care.

Inspectors visited Acquire's offices in February after receiving complaints over the continuity and reliability of the care and attitude of some staff.

In the inspection report inspectors said there were 'widespread and significant shortfalls' in the firm's leadership.

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The domiciliary care firm, which at the time of the inspection, provided care for 86 people, was found in numerous breaches of the Health and Social Care Act.

The company's website says Acquire Care Ltd is 'committed to helping people enjoy living in their own homes'.

The service was rated as 'requires improvement' across four of the five inspection measures while leadership was rated as 'inadequate'.

During their inspection the CQC heard how people were 'keen to stress that carers were kind and caring' and any deficiencies in the standard of care were described as due to 'poor organisation and management of the service'.

One person told inspectors how management 'told lies' to cover themselves.

The CQC report highlighted a number of specific failings including one instance where a visit had been recorded as being carried out but in fact had not.

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The report states: "The authorisation to do this had been given by a senior member of the management

team. This meant that important records relating to peoples care were not accurate."

Inspectors also said: "We found that the registered manager had failed to notify the CQC

of situations involving serious allegations of neglect in a timely manner.

"This meant that the CQC was not able to monitor these events that affected the health, safety and welfare of a person using the service."

Another part of the report detailed an incident that involved a person being given medicines which they should not have received.

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Although the registered manager gave assurances that they had met with the person and their family, they could not provide inspectors with evidence of what support had been provided to the person or their family since the error and had also failed to provide a written apology to the person.

Registered manager at Acquire Care Ltd Nick Boers said: "We were disappointed with the outcome of the recent inspection, especially as our previous rating in September 2018 was good.

"Processes have already been amended to ensure immediate improvement.

"It is expected that the rating will be greatly improved at the next inspection."