A Croydon care agency has been rated ‘inadequate’ after inspectors found staff often turned up late to visits and cut calls short.

One patient at LIM Independent Living and Community Care Services Limited, in Thornton Heath, said they often had to wait more than two hours for their carer to arrive.

The agency, on Foxley Road, is under special measures after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found the service had breached multiple regulations. This means it will be kept under review and reinspected in six months.

The watchdog found patients were not safe at the agency during the inspection, which was carried out between March 28 and April 21. The report found staff were often late to calls, or two carers were not with a patient at the same time when this was required.

Inspectors found staff did not stay for the full duration of a number of calls and a “high number of calls” where they were not given any time to travel between appointments. They added the provider “did not always contact people to let them know their care call would be late”.

One patient told inspectors their carer was due at 8am, but they “often had to wait until after 10am before the care worker arrived”. The report said: “The issues with late calls, calls being cut short, a lack of staff travel time between calls and calls where two staff did not overlap with each other when needed, meant there was not a sufficient number of staff to safely cover all the care calls.”

The registered manager said staff were late, or did not overlap with each other, due to geography and public transport. But the report said: “The provider did not have a strategy or plan in place to improve the punctuality issues with care calls and this put some people at potential risk of harm.”

The report also raised concerns about recruitment processes as the “provider had not always obtained a sufficient work history for new staff and had not always obtained suitable references for new staff”. It added “medicines were not always used safely” at the agency, while some patients claimed they received “inconsistent care”. One person described care at the service as “a bit erratic”, while another said: “I’m not sure about what I should be getting. I get a different service on different days.”


But the watchdog said staff “knew and understood people well and were responsive”. The report said: “Staff turnover was very low, which supported people to receive consistent care from staff who knew them well.

“Staff placed people’s wishes and needs at the heart of everything they did. People, and those important to them, were involved in planning their care. Staff valued and acted upon people’s views.”

The agency provides care for older people and children, along with people who have learning disabilities and autism, in their homes. The service was rated “requires improvement” at the previous three inspections. At the time of the latest inspection, 38 people were using the service. LIM Independent Living and Community Care Services Limited has been contacted for comment.