CQC rates Devon care agency inadequate and places it in special measures

Published: 2 March 2023 Page last updated: 3 March 2023

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated 1st React Healthcare in Exmouth, Devon, inadequate and placed it in special measures following an inspection in December and January.

The inspection was prompted as a result of concerns, including those raised by the local authority, regarding risks to people’s welfare and safety.

1st React Healthcare is a domiciliary care agency providing care to adults in their own homes. At the time of inspection, there were 59 people being supported by the service.

In addition to the service’s overall rating dropping from good to inadequate following the inspection, its ratings for being safe, effective and well-led also dropped from good to inadequate.

The service was not rated for being caring or for being responsive to people’s needs, because the inspection assessed specific areas of concern. The ratings of good from their previous inspection remain in these areas.

The service is now in special measures, which means it will be kept under review by CQC and re-inspected to assess whether improvements have been made.

Amanda Stride, CQC deputy director of operations in the south, said: 

“We’re disappointed standards of care provided to people by 1st React Healthcare have dropped significantly since our last inspection.

“Appointments were often missed, and people had difficulty contacting the service. This left vulnerable people with specific health conditions without the help they needed. People and their relatives also told us they didn’t know which staff member was visiting them and when, and the staff would often stay only for a short period of time.

“Frontline staff working for the service recognised there were serious problems, and one employee told us they were fearful people wouldn’t be helped to dress or eat when they weren’t working. This is unacceptable.

“We also found people’s medical records didn’t reflect the medications they were taking, and we couldn’t find evidence that people were involved in decisions about their care.

“The service’s leaders know what they must address to ensure people receive standards of care they have a right to expect.

“We’re monitoring the service closely, including through inspections, and we’ll use our enforcement powers if we’re not assured people are safe, or if improvements aren’t made.”

Inspectors found:

  • There were not enough staff to deliver care in a timely and organised way to meet people's needs
  • Effective systems were not in place to ensure staff attended calls on time. This placed people at risk of harm
  • Some calls were too short to provide the care people needed
  • Risk assessments had not been completed for some people to ensure they received safe care
  • Staff said they were not comfortable raising concerns because they felt a counter grievance would be raised against them
  • Some staff worried about people's care when they were not working and gave examples where care was not completed, such as one person's daily walk to maintain their independence or help with personal hygiene. All staff commented they were certain not all visits were being undertaken.

Contact information

For enquiries about this press release, email regional.comms@cqc.org.uk.

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.