A Wirral care home has been placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after inspectors found rotten food and said residents were not safe.

Officers from the care watchdog conducted a surprise inspection at Bidston Lodge, after receiving concerns about the “safe management” of the home.

When they visited the home in August, they found residents were at risk of avoidable harm and that managers failed to ensure that ‘proper persons’ were employed.

Inspectors also found rotten food which they said ‘risked attracting vermin’.

The residential home provides care for 10 people aged 65 and over.

Formerly called Oakdene, the home on Tollemache Road was recently taken over by a new provider – after a scathing CQC report revealed smelly rooms, a rusty toilet and residents “eating ice cream with their fingers”.

The damning inspection in October 2018 came after one in February of that year, which found “stained yellow” urine-smelling cubicles and allegations of financial abuse.

The home changed hands on April 24, 2019.

CQC inspectors visited Bidston Lodge on August 1, 8 and 20.

Staff, they say, “did not always support people in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests”. There was also no system in place for recording medication stock, although the report says medication was was administered safely at the home.

The report goes on to say safety checks were not effective; fire doors were routinely left open and records showed only one staff member had actually received fire safety training.

It says: “The number of staff available at the home was inconsistent. On some days there was additional staff available to help the two allocated care staff with cooking, cleaning and laundry.

“But on other days these tasks were completed by the two care staff – in addition to caring for 10 people.”

People told inspectors they felt safe living at Bidston Lodge, and that the home was clean.

Sometimes people were supported to visit local places, such as barbecues, and eating fish and chips at the seaside.

But people’s care and support “did not promote choice” or ‘enable people to maximise their control’.

There were “significant gaps” in residents’ care records and owners ‘had not put a system in place to ensure the recruitment process followed the regulations and was safe’.

Bidston Lodge has been approached for comment.