A Merseyside care home which did not put in place proper measures to protect residents during the pandemic has been heavily criticised by inspectors.

Orton House, on Woodchurch Road in Birkenhead, which is part of the Wirral Christian Centre Trust, looked after 25 residents full-time in June when inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited.

The report produced by the CQC, which was published this week, gave the care home the worst possible ‘inadequate’ rating.

Vicki Fisher, operations manager at Wirral Christian Centre Trust, said a new management team had been brought in since the inspection and everything raised in the report is being addressed.

A major problem at Orton House was its management of Covid-19 risks.

The report read: “Appropriate infection prevention control policies and procedures (IPC) in respect of Covid-19 were not in place.”

Two specific areas were pointed out by inspectors.

The document continued: “We were not assured that the provider was accessing testing for the staff, records did not always reflect that testing had been completed in line with government guidance.

“Personal Protective Equipment [PPE] was in use but not always worn appropriately. Clinical waste bins for the donning and doffing of PPE were not available in some parts of the home.

“There were also lids missing from a number of clinical waste bins which created a risk of cross-contamination.”

Worryingly, some concerns raised in a previous inspection remained.

When it came to training, the report read: “There was a lack of management and safe oversight of training staff with infection control. This was a concern at the last inspection.

The document added: “This is the second time since 2020 that the service has been rated inadequate.

“It was clear that both the provider and registered manager lacked an understanding of regulatory requirements and how to ensure people received safe and appropriate care.

“This placed people at significant risk of avoidable harm.”

A further important issue at the care home concerned medicines.

Detailing one particular problem, the report added: “The quantity of liquid medication in the home was not effectively recorded so it was impossible to determine if people had received the prescribed medication they needed.

“Medication allergies were not always accurately recorded. This placed people at risk of being given a medication they were allergic to.”

There were also risks at the home when it came to the times at which medicines were given to residents.

The CQC document continued: “People were at risk of receiving some doses of their medication too close together or at the wrong times because there were ineffective systems in place to ensure timeframes were adhered to.

“Medicines were not always stored safely or at the right temperature.

“Records detailing the temperature at which medicines were stored were not clear or consistently completed.”

Responding to the report, Ms Fisher said: “Across the board what I would like to say is that since the recent inspection we have brought in a new management team.

“We are working closely with the local authority [Wirral Council] to make all relevant changes as quickly as possible.

“Everything stressed in the report is being addressed and an action plan is in place.

“As operations manager for the trust I feel positively about the changes. In such a short window, so much has been achieved and implemented and i’m positive about where we’re heading.”

Ms Fisher added that the new management team is “exceptional”.