THE director of a care agency which provides support to people in their own homes has spoken of his pride in his team ­— and anger at the health watchdog's decision to place its Bolton branch in the "requires improvement" category.

Premier Care Bolton Branch was given an overall requires improvement mark by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) ­— despite highlighting the majority of the agency's work as good.

The agency, based on Chorley New Road, Bolton, is a domiciliary care agency providing help and support to people with varying needs in their own homes. At the time of the inspection the service was supporting 203 people with personal care.

The inspection report stated: "The service was not always safe.

"People told us there were times when staff were late, and they did not always know who would be visiting them."

The inspection also found "inconsistencies in people’s medicines administration records" ­— and although "systems were in place" to address the concerns, they need time to embed, said inspectors.

Recruitment procedures were safe, with staff having access to personal protective equipment and procedures were in place to minimise potential risk of abuse or unsafe care, the inspection found.

The report stated: "The service was not always well led. At this inspection we identified issues with the provider's quality and assurance systems. We found some inconsistencies in care documentation. We have made a recommendation about embedding effective systems to monitor the service."

Inspectors said there was a positive "staff culture" with the management team taking on feedback and "keen to improve the service".

The agency was 'marked' as good in all the other areas ­— caring; effective in improving people's quality of life and in responding to people's needs.

The report stated: "People were supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests; the policies and systems in the service supported this practice.

"People's nutritional needs had been considered. People we spoke with said they were given choices on what meals and drinks they wanted.

"The registered manager and staff were caring.

"People told us they were happy with their care and staff treated them with kindness, dignity and respect. One person said, 'I’m happy with the carers, the staff are good.' Staff were aware of how to protect people's privacy and dignity."

David Mcguinn, director of Premier Care Ltd, said he felt the overall requires improvement mark was an "unfair judgement" and left the "Bolton team feeling demoralised".

He said:“We feel aggrieved we were not able to challenge this judgement.”

Mr Mcguinn added: “We frequently get comments from service users about the high standard of care they receive, and those comments are a fantastic reflection on the team.

“They are a hard working team, working in challenging circumstances and for the CQC to pick up on timing, is hugely unfair ­— the challenges of working in this sector have been well documented.

“The CQC recognised the caring nature of the team and high standard of their work, so we don’t understand the judgement at all.”

Mr Mcguinn stressed that issues raised were already being addressed, as recognised in the report, and that ‘paperwork’ issues raised should not have placed the Bolton branch in the overall “require improvement” category, given all the good findings highlighted by the inspection team.