The owner of a Bolton care home has slammed healthcare watchdog Care Quality Commission (CQC) over a downgraded official rating.

Margaret Lowe owns the Hyde Lea care home in Astley Bridge, which cares for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Before, the home had an overall rating of "good", with inspectors commending the home for being "outstanding" in the care it provided.

However, now the home has been told it "requires improvement" by inspectors, with the home’s rating for how "caring" it is going down to "good".

Speaking to The Bolton News, Margaret said she was "absolutely mortified" by the ratings downgrade, that she had been trouble sleeping, and that she could understand why Reading headteacher Ruth Perry had taken her own life following an Ofsted downgrade.

In Hyde Lea’s report, published on February 22, the CQC said there were enough staff at the home and people felt safe living there, with relatives commending staff as "kind and caring".

However, the home was told to review medical records to add clear guidance on how people like to take their medicines.

Leadership was also criticised in the report for inconsistencies in record keeping – something the report criticised as a breach of Health and Social Care Act regulations.

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Looking after older people for 40 years, Margaret said there "wasn’t half as much" paperwork when she started in the sector.

The 63-year-old said: “I’ve never had anything like this. I am upset about it because I just don’t think it warrants what we got.

“We’re one of the best homes in Bolton, I do my audits, I do my care planning, I do everything. I think he’s just nitpicked.”

Margaret said she made a complaint after getting sight of the report before it was published – but the report was published with its original rating.

The CQC has insisted that the report, based on a visit to the home in December last year, is accurate.

Margaret, who has owned Hyde Lea since 2009, said the person who carried out her inspection was "rude" and that the home did not deserve such a "drastic" drop in its rating.

The Bolton News: Owner Margaret Lowe said she was upset by the new ratingOwner Margaret Lowe said she was upset by the new rating (Image: Hyde Lea)

She added: “Alright, our care plans aren’t computerised, but they are now. We’re going through it all now to get it all computerised, because there were only a couple of homes in Bolton that are not computerised.

“I don’t get it. I’m still not happy about it, me and my son are fuming. It’s put a dampener on all my staff, absolutely. We work 110 per cent for this home, we always have done.”

Margaret added that she wants to see more consistency in the way CQC inspections are carried out.

She said: “I think they all should be working from the same hymn sheet, every one of them – because they’re all different when they come.

“I feel they all should have a form and work from that.

“I’m not sleeping at night now, I’m thinking about things – it does worry you and it does panic you. You think: why, why’s my outstanding been taken off me? He hadn’t even told me it was.”

The Bolton News: Margaret's son, Craig Lowe, also works at the homeMargaret's son, Craig Lowe, also works at the home (Image: Hyde Lea)

Margaret added: “They just don’t care what they’re doing to people anymore. I don’t know whether they want homes to close down, I really don’t know. I just don’t get it, me.”

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A CQC spokesperson said: “In December, we inspected Hyde Lea care home in Bolton.

“Following the inspection, we rated the home as requires improvement overall, which we understand will have been difficult for the owner to hear.

“CQC’s ratings are designed to enable someone who doesn’t know anything about health and social care to have an understanding of our findings, so they can use them to make informed decisions about their own care and the care of loved ones.

“As with all inspection reports, the provider had an opportunity to raise any inaccuracies during the factual accuracy process.

The Bolton News: Hyde Lea care homeHyde Lea care home (Image: Hyde Lea)

“As part of that process, the provider did submit comments which we reviewed prior to the publication of the final report, but there was no additional evidence submitted demonstrating our findings were inaccurate.

“As such, we are confident the final report is an accurate reflection of the level of care being provided at Hyde Lea Care Home. 

“CQC also have a complaints process that providers can use to raise concerns about the inspection process, which is separate to the factual accuracy process.”

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