STAFF for an in-home care provider were seen not wearing masks to protect users from Covid-19, a report from the care watchdog has revealed.

Shaf Lodge, based in Westcliff, provides 24-hour staffing support to 29 people with disabilities and mental health needs living in supported living accommodation.

The care service was rated "requires improvement" by the Care Quality Commission following an inspection in October.

Inspectors reported witnessing staff not wearing face masks while “in close contact with service users, or enclosed spaces”.

Since then, mask use has been implemented by leadership throughout the service, inspectors added.

Staff were found to have had received training in infection prevention and control. However, inspectors said staff were not aware of all the actions required to manage the risks related to Covid-19.

Inspectors said: "Although we found no evidence people had been harmed, we were not assured the provider was following best practice guidance in relation to infection prevention and control. This placed people at risk of harm.”

Shaf Lodge, previously rated ‘good’ in 2019, was this time around given the second lowest possible overall rating.

Following the latest inspection, the service was scored as ‘good’ in two criteria, care and responsiveness, but safety, effectiveness and leadership were all deemed below par and rated ‘requires improvement’.

The care provider a came under scrutiny over its recruitment practices.

The report added: “Complete employment histories had not been obtained for all staff, and risk assessments had not always been recorded."

Shaf Lodge was further criticised for failing to take user’s end of life wishes in consideration. Inspectors said the service had not recorded any provisions or plans for peoples end of life care.

However, it was praised for involving users in making decisions about their home and care and people were supported remain “as independent as possible”.

One person told inspectors: "[Staff] help me keep my room clean and change my bed."

The care services safeguarding systems were also praised with inspectors declaring “people were protected from the risk of abuse”.

Spotlight Healthcare Services, the firm which runs Sha Lodge, has been contacted for comment.