FORMER staff and clients have shared their concerns over an ‘appalling’ care agency that has been placed into special measures.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said in a damning report this week that people were being placed at serious risk of harm because of failings by Alexios, which provided care for 187 clients across Bolton.

The watchdog said that carers regularly missed or were late for appointments, a finding that has been backed up by ex-employees who claim they were overburdened.

Victoria Bostock, who left Alexios in August after four months with the agency, said: “I spoke to one lady who had been sat in her chair all night because nobody had come to see her.

“I once went off work for three weeks because I had an operation and when I went back there was a woman who had not had her medication picked up the whole time I was away.

“I was so worried all of the time, it made me feel ill. I went to see one lady once and her arm was black and blue — she had fell because the carer had missed a call and she had tried to fend for herself when she couldn’t.

“Another woman needed medication for Parkinson’s every two hours and her carer was not turning up on time. It wasn’t their fault, the agency kept putting the wrong times down.

“They need to cut down the number of clients they are taking on and focus on looking after the ones that they have now.

“I would have up to 27 calls a day all across Horwich. It was unsustainable.

“Sometimes you would have two minutes between your appointments that were at completely different ends of Horwich.”

The CQC inspectors also raised concerns about clients sometimes having to administer their own medication, while one relative said they were ‘terrified of going on holiday in case the carers do not turn up’.

Alan Chaffin’s wife Sylvia has received care from Alexios for several years, but they are now switching care providers.

Mr Chafffin, from Breightmet, says that he has faced problems with his wife’s care after their regular carers left the agency.

The 80-year-old said: “The carers we have had over the years have been fantastic and I have made so many friends.

“But all of the best carers have left to go somewhere else now.

“I find that the carers do come eventually, but often it is too late or at the wrong time — that is no good. You can’t make people wait around all night

“We have no regular carer coming anymore and that has worried me. I hope that we will be alright now that we are switching to another company.”

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.

Inadequate Alexios care agency is 'going to kill someone', relatives warn

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.”

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

Rachel Lomax, from Harwood, worked in Alexios’ office for six years and says carers would struggle to get a break during the day.

She said: “I was there for a long time.

“I worked in the office and I regularly saw sensitive personal details and bank account information not locked away properly.

“There were lots of missed calls, that has gone on for years.

“They are taking on young carers with no experience, so if someone needs more than a cup of tea and a tablet they can struggle.

“There would be no restriction sometimes on the number of calls a carer could have in a day. They would be lucky to get a one hour break between 7an and 11pm.”