A Suffolk personal care agency has been rated 'inadequate' in its latest inspection report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Cephas Care Limited Domiciliary Care Agency provides personal care to people in their own homes, offering support to the elderly and frail, as well as autistic people and those with learning difficulties.

It currently supports more than 300 people across Norfolk and Suffolk, employing over 300 members of staff.

The service, which was rated as 'requires improvement' in the previous CQC report from August 2021, has now been placed in 'special measures'.

The CQC said: "The overall rating for this service is 'Inadequate' and the service is therefore in 'special measures'. This means we will keep the service under review and, if we do not propose to cancel the provider's registration, we will re-inspect within six months to check for significant improvements."

Cephas Care Limited said it was working hard to ensure the concerns raised were rectified as soon as possible.

At the time of the CQC's inspection, April 26, 2022 - May 17, 2022, the domiciliary service supported 100 people in their own homes, 76 of which were in receipt of personal care across areas of Ipswich, Felixstowe, Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds.

In the report, safety and leadership were flagged as 'inadequate', while effectiveness, care and responsiveness were rated as 'requires improvement'.

Details of safety failings included people being at risk of harm due to things such as arson or self-harm not being "mitigated and effectively managed".

The report called attention to an example of a lack of evidence of any additional checks or follow-ups after a person sustained a head injury from a fall.

One instance of someone sleeping in a bed alongside a wall covered in mould was also highlighted.

A shortfall in medication systems were pinpointed, including inaccurate medication plans and a lack of or incomplete risk assessments.

The report said: "A person unable to consent to taking their medicines and would otherwise refuse them was deemed to be able to have their medicines given to them covertly concealed in food or drink.

"However, we found that in making this decision the service had not consulted with a wider group of persons in line with national guidance."

Issues surrounding leadership included people not receiving "safe, effective, person-centred care", insufficient staffing and a culture of staff reporting concerns to the CQC rather than internally "due to a lack of confidence in the reporting systems".

Despite these concerns, a number of relatives did speak positively about how their relatives were kept safe.

Furthermore, the report highlighted user feedback claiming staff were kind and helpful and that people were supported to access healthcare when needed.

A spokesman for Cephas Care Ltd, which is based in Crabbe Street, Ipswich, said: “We at Cephas Care Ltd acknowledge the findings of the Care Quality Commission following their recent inspection of our service.

"We are working hard to ensure that the concerns noted during the inspection are rectified as soon as possible, and we are attending regular reviews with the local authority and the Care Quality Commission who are reviewing our progress.

"We are confident that once a re-inspection of our service has been completed, we will be able to demonstrate significant and sustained improvements”.