A WIRRAL care home has been given the worst possible rating after residents were found to be 'at risk of infection.'

Orton House, on Woodchurch Road in Birkenhead, was rated 'inadequate' in a recently published report after inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found it was understaffed and put people at risk of infection.

At the time of the inspection in late October, the home provided residential care for 31 people, but it scored ‘inadequate’ for safety and leadership, with inspectors stating that service users were “at risk of avoidable harm”.

A spokesperson for the care home said there had been no coronavirus cases at the home during the pandemic, showing that Orton House has kept service users safe.

They also felt that some statements in the report did not fairly reflect standards at the home and anticipated a better rating in six months time when Orton House will be reinspected.

While the report noted the home was clean and appropriate techniques to prevent the spread of infection were being used, a number of problems in this area were found.

The report stated: "Management of infection control needed improving to ensure risks were limited and to ensure staff were fully trained in all aspects of infection control including arrangements for Covid-19.

"The service had no ancillary staff to carry out cleaning duties of a weekend which raises risk of potential cross infection.

"Hand washing audits had not been regularly carried out and highlighted potential risks amongst the staff team with management of infection control.

"Three bathrooms had no access to liquid hand wash which limits appropriate resources needed to reduce risks of infection."

Summing up this issue of infection prevention, inspectors added: "We found no evidence that people had been harmed however, inappropriate management of infection control puts people at risk of infection."

Another major problem at the care home was a lack of oversight, which inspectors said was evident across "fire procedures, medications, staffing levels, training, recruitment, infection control, health and safety and managing communications and feedback".

Staffing was also a cause for concern for CQC inspectors.

One section of the report read: "Staffing levels were insufficient, especially in the afternoon and weekends."

Inspectors revealed that staffing levels were reduced from five care staff to three staff every afternoon and evening without any rationale as to how this decision was made.

But it was noted that after the inspection the care home said additional recruitment had taken place.

There were some positive features of Orton House mentioned in the report.

Inspectors said residents and their relatives told them they felt safe in the home.

Service users also said they liked living at Orton House, but some relatives felt residents needed more access to social support and activities.

Responding to the inspection report, a spokesperson for Orton House said: "Bathrooms are stocked daily by our Domestics Team. Several statements that we have challenged with CQC have been upheld although there were a number that were not.

"We do not feel that such statements fairly represent our home and the care practises that we deliver. They will reinspect within six months and we fully anticipate a good outcome.

"We have had no Covid-19 cases with our residents throughout this pandemic. We feel that it is sad that CQC have failed to recognise that throughout this time we have kept our residents safe.

"Throughout a pandemic, so far lasting 10 months, we have not had a single case of Covid-19 and the residents are well looked after."

The spokesperson added: "Our Infection, Prevention and Control measures are good, and a Covid free home evidences that.

"Again, upon the next inspection I fully expect that the outcome will read Good.

"As a new management team entering into our position as the nation entered into lock down, we have embarked upon a journey of transformation and improvement with the home.

"As new managers we have been at the home for less than a year and are on a journey.

"Staffing levels are calculated with a dependency calculator. All evidence of this is ready in a file for CQC to view when they are next at the setting to complete an inspection.

"Although dependency levels were calculated they were not printed off historically.

"This is something that has been amended and all evidence of staffing requirements and calculations is held within these forms."