SOMEONE could die if an 'appalling' care agency does not improve, relatives have warned.

Alexios, which had been commissioned by Bolton Council to provide care in the home for 165 people, has been rated as inadequate in every aspect by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

During a three-day visit earlier this summer, inspectors found that carers regularly missed or were late to visits with clients and that people were placed at 'significant risk of harm' by unsafe medicine systems.

One relative told the inspectors: "The service is appalling. The standard of care provided by some carers is awful. They are going to kill someone."

A member of staff also described the organisation of the agency as 'shambolic' and said they were 'genuinely worried about the care that some people receive'.

The Chorley New Road-based service, which was previously known as Carewatch – Bolton and has worked with the local authority for several years, has been placed into special measures by the CQC and will have its council contract terminated.

Last year, a damning report has branded the council's system providing home care for vulnerable people in Bolton as 'shoddy', 'slap dash' and 'not fit for purpose'.

A spokesman for Alexios, which employs 77 people and also provides 22 private care packages, said the agency had made a formal complaint about the report to the CQC.

Inspectors were told by family members that carers left clients' doors unlocked at night and missed visits 'that resulted in their relative being left sat in a chair all night'.

Another relative of a client said that they were 'terrified of going on holiday in case the carers do not turn up'.

The report states: "Some people we spoke with told us they felt safe with their regular carers who visited them; however many did not feel safe at times when unknown care staff came to their house.

"There were numerous missed calls and late visits which had the potential to seriously impact on the health and wellbeing of service users."

It adds: "There were insufficient staff to cover the work load given and staff we spoke with told us they were not able to get to calls on time, which resulted in late or missed calls.

"We saw for one person who had eight visits a day that on July 22, 2017 records showed there had been only six visits, on the July 24, 2017 only two visits were recorded, and on the August 2, 2017 we saw that the 2.30pm visit for medication was 40 minutes late.

"This meant that medicines were not being in a safe and timely manner and people's health and safety were at risk."

The CQC also saw one person administer some of their own medication, while another — who was 'confused and had limited vision' — had medication left out for later in the day because they did not have a call at the time they needed to take it. No risk assessments had been completed to show it was safe for these people to take their own medicines.

While the service provided by regular carers was described as good, inspectors found that other care staff 'were failing to complete basic tasks'.

Alexios was also criticised for care records held in the office and in people's homes not including important information, such as allergies and names of GPs, and for staff not having had appropriate infection control training.

Inspectors had previously rated the agency as 'requires improvement' last year and say they found 'continual breaches of the regulations' at their latest visit.

Alexios changed its name in January this year retained its registered manager.

A council spokesman said: “We were concerned to learn that Alexios had failed to demonstrate any evidence of improvement since their last inspection and its services had been rated ‘inadequate’.

"The safety of our service users is of utmost importance to us so we have served notice on the company and are terminating our contract with them.

“We have already written to all of our service users to inform them of our decision and are arranging for alternative home care providers to take over the packages of care currently provided by Alexios.

"We anticipate there should be no disruption to people’s care and Alexios carers have the opportunity to transfer to the new providers if they choose to.

"We are doing everything possible to ensure the transfer goes as smoothly as possible, and reiterate that our service users are at the heart of any decisions that have been made.”

A spokesman for Alexios said: "This matter is subject to an ongoing formal complaint by Alexios to the CQC. It would be inappropriate to comment further until that process is resolved."

The CQC says it will inspect the service again within six months.