The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated a care home in Truro inadequate overall, following inspections in January and February.

Carrick is a residential care home providing personal care for up to five people with learning disabilities or autistic people.

The service is run by Spectrum (Devon and Cornwall Autistic Community Trust).

CQC carried out an unannounced inspection after receiving information of concern about inadequate staffing levels and staff working excessive hours.

At the time of the inspection five people were living at the service.

Following the inspection, the overall rating for the service has dropped from requires improvement to inadequate.

The ratings for safe and well-led have also dropped from requires improvement to inadequate.

Responsive has dropped from good to inadequate.

Effective and caring have dropped from good to requires improvement.

The service is now in special measures which means it will be kept under review and re-inspected to check that improvements have been made.

If significant improvements have not been made, CQC says it will take further enforcement action.


Deborah Ivanova, CQC’s director for people with learning disability and autistic people, said: "When we inspected Carrick, we were very concerned to find the service was regularly short staffed and often operating at minimum, and sometimes below, safe staffing levels.

"Some staff were working excessive hours, and one member of staff was routinely working in excess of 84 hours a week.

"This exposes people to risk of harm and poor quality of life and it resulted in the service being unsafely staffed on at least one occasion.

"It is particularly disappointing to find this was still an issue, as we told the provider they needed to address insufficient staffing levels after our last inspection.

"They responded by using agency staff to support the service, but some agency staff were having to work 14-hour shifts, which is far too long.

"This came to a head when one member of staff fell asleep while on duty.

"Although this was investigated internally, the provider failed to alert safeguarding authorities and had permitted staff to continue to work excessive hours.

"As well as not having enough staff to keep people safe, staff shortages also meant people weren’t supported to be as independent as they could be or encouraged to learn and develop new skills.

"They were not always given help to wash and change their clothes, or to go out of the home when they wanted to.

"All of this is indicative of an environment where the people living there become reliant on staff to meet their basic needs, instead of being supported to be as independent as possible.

"We have told the provider to make urgent improvements to ensure that people and staff are safe, and we will monitor the service closely to ensure these are made and fully embedded.

"If they are not, we will not hesitate to take further enforcement action."


A spokesperson for Spectrum said: "The health and wellbeing of the people we support is always our number one priority.

"While we do not believe the report accurately reflects the situation at Carrick, we understand how important it is that our service users and their families feel able to put their trust in a well-resourced and dedicated care team.

"As noted in the CQC’s report, we have been seriously impacted by the carer shortages in the UK. We are doing our upmost to recruit and retain staff, including running local recruitment campaigns and using our charitable funds to invest in referral schemes.

"Whilst our recruitment plan is on-going, we are pleased to have filled vacancies at Carrick since the inspection.

"We would like to thank our community for their complimentary feedback, which is referenced in the CQC’s report.

"Every carer at Spectrum is fully trained and capable of delivering the right care and support for the people in our services.

"We continue to be committed to providing the high-quality care we pride ourselves on."