An at-home care service in South London has been criticised in a damning report after inspectors were told one patient was given dinner straight after breakfast.

Inspectors also heard that staff “refused” to properly wash or dress a patient around the last week of their life. 

CRG Homecare Wandsworth is said to have put people at risk of harm in a report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) this month.

 After a remote inspection on February 22, the watchdog said “staff did not always turn up for shifts” and rated the service “inadequate” overall. 

Most feedback given to inspectors was negative about staff punctuality and time spent with patients, with one person saying their carer sometimes stayed for five minutes instead of 30.

Another patient told inspectors their carer didn’t turn up “seven or eight times”.

The report says: “Some staff did not support people with various aspects of their care such as meal preparation, leaving them unwashed, improperly dressed or left them in distress.

"Staff attended calls much earlier than planned or very late without people’s consent to the changes to their preferences of when their care was delivered.”

It adds: “People living with dementia, complex or deteriorating health needs were particularly affected by the inconsistent, erratic, and poor quality of care delivery by some care staff.”

The service, based in the Earlsfield Business Centre, faced “overwhelmingly negative” feedback in relation to care safety.

One person quoted in the CQC report said: “Retrain all the staff, and management, employ the right people. One carer worked 14 days on the trot.”

Another commented: “Shut it down and restart [the service].” 

The report also identified “widespread and significant shortfalls” in leadership, with a high turnover of managers and feedback from users and their family members showing care was not provided as planned.

Although a new interim management team was put in place in January, inspectors said they “were not assured the changes would be consistent”.

Systems for monitoring staff attendance to care visits, risk management, quality assurance checks and auditing, staffing and supervision were branded “inadequate”.

The report also found people were not protected from the risk of abuse, with staff showing “limited understanding” of safeguarding procedures.

The report adds: “The provider did not foster a culture of learning from incidents and accidents.

"Accidents were not recorded and monitored and discussed with staff to minimise a reoccurrence.

"There were instances of missed calls, people receiving unsafe care and the provider’s systems ineffective in monitoring trends to prevent a reoccurrence.”

Twelve people were receiving personal care from the service at the time of the inspection.

The service was rated “requires improvement” at its last inspection in December 2020.

The fall to “inadequate” means the service is being monitored and will be reinspected. 

A spokesperson for CRG said: “At CRG, we strive to deliver the best quality care for our service users, and for our employees.

"On this particular occasion, we are working closely with the local authority and the team on the frontline to raise the standards across the board.

“We have already improved the management provided on the ground and we have stopped taking on new service users for the time being.

"We continue to review our comprehensive action plan on a weekly basis.”