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Inspection report

Date of Inspection: 14 January and 14 June 2011
Date of Publication: 23 August 2011
Inspection Report published 23 August 2011 PDF

People should be cared for in safe and accessible surroundings that support their health and welfare (outcome 10)

Enforcement action taken

We checked that people who use this service

  • Are in safe, accessible surroundings that promote their wellbeing.

How this check was done

Our judgement

People who use services and people who work and visit the home were not protected against the risks of unsafe or unsuitable premises because the building was not adequately maintained.

User experience

We did not talk to people about this outcome.

Other evidence

In occupied bedrooms we saw the door frames were damaged; the door latches on the inside of the bedroom doors were broken and there were missing latch parts. This prevented the doors from being opened from the inside. We saw that the keys for the doors were hanging on hooks on the outside of the bedroom door frames. This increased the risk of the service user being locked in their bedrooms.

We saw an electrical light switch that was badly damaged, and these were taped to the wall. This presented a high risk of electrocution to people as they could touch the live wiring inside the exposed light sockets. When we asked the acting manager about the damage to the light switches, she said that it had happened over the previous weekend and that this was a regular occurrence by this particular service user. We asked her how this was to be resolved, she said that the handyman would usually respond within 24 hours to carry out any repairs, but on this occasion this had not taken place because there was only one handyman for all the provider’s other locations in the area.

We saw damaged furniture in an occupied bedroom and noted in particular that the wardrobe doors were missing and that damaged door hinges with sharp edges were still in place. These were located at eye level and posed a risk of injury to people. The paintwork was damaged and scuffed in several areas and there were holes in the plaster walls around the door frame. The room was very sparse, there was little evidence of the existence of the service user’s personal belongings, and the wardrobe contained only a few items of clothing.

In an occupied bedroom we saw that in the en-suite bathroom that the tap handles had been removed. Therefore the service user was unable to use this facility. We also saw that the radiator was damaged and was held together with tape. There were areas of damaged and scuffed paintwork and the plaster walls were broken around the door frame. The floor covering was of linoleum and there was a mattress on the floor, rather than a bed. There was no other furniture in the bedroom; the room appeared sparse and unlived in. The window in the room had no curtains or blinds, and an opaque film had been applied to the glass in the window frame. This restricted natural light coming into the bedroom and the service user’s ability to look out of the window.

In the ground floor bathroom we saw significant growth of mould around the bath, shower tray and walls and noted that the vinyl flooring was stained in places. This posed a potential health hazard.


In the main kitchen we saw dirty laundry (tabards) stored in the food preparation area. The oven was dirty, badly stained with remnants of food and grease. The nearby kitchen units were dirty with grime and splashes of grease from the oven.

Because of the serious concerns identified by compliance inspectors regarding Safety and suitability of Premises at Middleton Lodge, CQC issued safeguarding alerts to Darlington Borough Council’s Adult Protection Team.