A HOME care service which previously paid out almost £1 million compensation for missing visits has once again come under fire.

Ashley Care, based in Southend, has been rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection in October of last year.

In a report published last week, CQC inspectors found the service – which was providing support to 142 people in their own homes – was suffering from understaffing, with staff frequently running late.

In July of last year, the service coughed up £900,000 after missing 142 times over a 12-week period for a then-aged 63-year-old man who subsequently suffered a stroke.

The grandfather, who was granted anonymity by the courts, was supposed to be visited regularly, but was not visited once in the four days leading up to his stroke.

Now the Clarence Street based service is under fire again for missed calls.

“People told us they were not always contacted by Ashley Care if staff were running late or where there was a change of carer,” the report read.

One relative told inspectors: "They should be called Ashley don't care. We don't have the same staff and they don't come at the same time."

Service users claimed they had “experienced missed calls” on multiple occasions.

Staff spoked to by the CQC reported too many calls scheduled for how many staff were available, meaning calls were either missed, were late or did not last for the allotted time.

One staff member said: "We are so short staffed, that's why everyone is getting late and missed calls… They [office] tend to give us excess amounts of clients.”

Viv Storey, managing director at Ashley Care, said: "With the pressures on homecare at present unfortunately neither we or the majority of providers are able to give all our clients their preferred time of visit, if this was achievable all staff would only work between limited hours.

"Ashley Care will always strive to improve and are pleased to confirm that all surveys completed recently show clients are happy with their carers attendance and delivery of care.   

"No visits have been missed and we are trying our best to recruit more carers to allow more preference on arrival times to be met."