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CQC rate Preston care agency inadequate and place in Special Measures

5 August 2016
  • Media

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Direct Health (UK) Limited that it must make improvements to protect the safety and welfare of people who use the services of Direct Health (Preston). Direct Health is a domiciliary care agency that provides personal care services to support people to live independently in the Preston area.

The report published by CQC can be found at:

CQC last carried out an announced comprehensive inspection of this service on 25 February 2015 and 6 March 2015 when the service was rated as Requires Improvement. As a result of the findings CQC requested the provider to give us an action plan on how they were going to meet the requirements of the regulations.

During this inspection inspectors reviewed actions taken by the provider to gain compliance against the breaches. Although some improvements had been made in respect of person centred care planning, and staff training, induction and maintenance of care records, the inspection team found little in the way of improvement in respect of safe management of medication and systems for assessing the quality of service. Further deterioration in the quality of care was noted as a result of the lack of adequate staff supervision and insufficient leadership and oversight. This inspection rated the service as Inadequate.

Some of the findings from the latest inspection included:

  • The processes in place to support and help people were not robust enough. At times the processes were found to compromise people’s safety, for example Inspectors found how people were assisted to manage their medication placed peoples at risk.
  • The service was unreliable because carers did not visit as planned. They were either late, too early or did not stay the duration of the call. This had exposed people to risk of improper treatment and care.
  • The service was unable to demonstrate progression since the last inspection and had not met all the breaches outlined in the issued requirement notice.

Debbie Westhead, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care in the North, said:

“We found the care provided by Direct Health (Preston) was of a very poor standard. In particular, we are concerned that people did not receive care at the time they were supposed to. This did not meet their needs and also placed them at risk. People using Direct Health (Preston) rely on regular and timely visits this was clearly not happening. I am disappointed at the lack of improvement since our inspection in February and March 2015.

“People are entitled to services which provide safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care and we have told the provider that they must take immediate action. . Many people rely on their services and I am not satisfied that the levels of care are acceptable.

“We are working closely with Lancashire County Council to ensure that people receiving care are not placed at further risk. We will continue to monitor and review this agency and if we are not satisfied will not hesitate to use further enforcement powers to bring about improvement.


For further information please contact CQC Regional Engagement Manager David Fryer 07901514220 or Kerri James on 07464 92 9966 Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here. Please note: the press office is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters.

For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors


Special Measures 

All adult social care services inspected since 1 April 2015 that receive an overall rating of Inadequate will be placed into special measures by CQC. The regime is designed to make sure there is a timely and coordinated response to inadequate care and we will use it alongside our enforcement policy.


When a service is in special measures it is the provider’s responsibility to improve, seeking appropriate support from its own resources and from other relevant organisations. When we can, we will signpost providers to improvement support agencies.


Those services will be inspected again within six months. If a service demonstrates improvements and is no longer rated as inadequate for any of the five key questions we will take it out of special measures. If sufficient improvements have not been made and there remains a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall, we will take further action which may include cancelling the registration of that service.


More information can be found on our special measures process here:


Since 1 April, providers have been required by law to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily. This should be done within 21 days of publication of their inspection report. For further information on the display of CQC ratings, please visit:


About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.