A CARE home run by an NHS trust has been slammed by a health watchdog for its “closed culture” where “blanket restrictions” were in place and toilets were locked.

Rawreth Court, in Rayleigh, provides nursing and residential care for older people living with dementia, providing care for up to 35 people and is part of Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.

An unannounced visit by the Care Quality Commission found the service continues to require improvement and has now issued two warning notices as part of their intervention.

An assessment whether the home was well led dropped to inadequate and a verdict on how caring the home is declined from good to requires improvement.

Hazel Roberts, CQC deputy director of operations in the East of England, said: “When we inspected Rawreth Court, it was disappointing to find care was not always delivered in a way which respected the person being supported or maintained their dignity, leaders didn’t have the oversight to provide a culture which could deliver consistent, high-quality care.

“There were signs of a closed culture at the service. We found blanket restrictions in place.

“For example, all of the toilet doors were locked so that nobody could access the facilities unless they were accompanied by a staff member.

“There was nothing recorded to demonstrate people living in the service or their relatives had given their consent for this arrangement or that this decision was in their best interest.”

The inspection report added: “At a previous inspection, we found people’s bedrooms doors were alarmed. We were told this was used to alert staff when a person’s door was opened. At this inspection, this remained the same.

“Again, there was no information to confirm people living in the service or their loved ones had given their consent to this or that it was in their best interest. This is not a dignified way for people to live.”

A spokesman EPUT said: “We’re committed to working with the CQC, our partners, and patients and their families to continually improve the care we provide and have taken immediate action to address feedback to ensure patients at Rawreth Court receive the safe and compassionate care they deserve.”

The spokesman added that since the September inspection they had taken measures to improve medication administration, recording patient risk assessments and they have refreshed staff training.