CQC takes action to protect people at Morpeth care home

Published: 28 March 2024 Page last updated: 28 March 2024

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated Northlands Care Home (Northumberland) in Morpeth, Northumberland inadequate and placed it into special measures to protect people, following an inspection in December.

Northlands Care Home, run by Parkside Care Limited, is a residential care home providing accommodation and personal care to people with a physical disability or medical need and older people, including people who are living with dementia. The service can support up to 39 people. At the time of our inspection there were 37 people using the service.

This inspection was prompted due to concerns CQC received in relation to keeping people safe, delivering the right care to support people, and staffing.

Following this inspection, the service’s overall rating has dropped from good to inadequate, as has the rating for being safe and effective. The well-led rating has dropped from requires improvement to inadequate. As this was a focused inspection, caring and responsive were not included and remain rated good from their previous inspection.

The service is now in special measures, which means it will be kept under close review by CQC to keep people safe and it will be monitored to check sufficient improvements have been made.

Linda Hirst, CQC deputy director of operations in the north, said:

“When we inspected Northlands Care Home, we were disappointed to see a shortfall in strong leadership. We saw ineffective management structures meant the provider couldn’t monitor the quality of care provided or know where improvements were needed to support people safely.

“During our visit, we found people weren’t always safe from the risk of avoidable harm. At the time of the inspection the service was in organisational safeguarding with the local authority as there were multiple concerns about people's care and safety at the home. We found there had been a number of falls at the home or unexplained bruising which weren’t always identified or referred to the safeguarding team in a timely manner or being learned from to prevent future incidents.

“We found staff weren’t always supporting people to drink enough fluids. Charts consistently showed people weren’t drinking enough and care plans didn’t always show where people, including those at risk of choking or using a feeding tube, needed additional support to keep them safe.

“Additionally, we saw the provider didn’t always make sure staff had the skills, knowledge and experience to deliver effective care and support. The local authority safeguarding team had also highlighted areas where staff needed more training, and the provider was working with them to address issues.

“We have told Northlands Care Home where we expect to see rapid and widespread improvements and will continue to monitor them closely to keep people safe while this happens. We will return to check on their progress and won’t hesitate to take action if people are not receiving the care they have a right to expect.”

Inspectors found: 

  • People were not always protected from risk and actions to mitigate risks were not always in place
  • Staff were not always deployed efficiently, and some areas of the home were not always well observed
  • People were not supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff did not support them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests; the policies and systems in the service did not support this practice
  • People were subject to restriction on their freedom. Whilst these restrictions were to ensure their safety, actions had not been taken in line with the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act
  • Quality monitoring at the home was not consistent
  • Checks and audits failed to identify shortfalls in care and incomplete records
  • The provider had not written formally to individuals, offering explanations and apologies following accidents or untoward events.


  • People told us there were enough staff to support their daily care needs
  • People were involved in care decisions and said staff treated them well
  • The provider was looking to address the shortfalls and had recently appointed a new quality manager who was working on improvements.

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.