A CARE home for people with learning difficulties has been ordered to improve standards after inspectors found residents were living in damp, dangerous and dirty conditions. Other problems included too few staff to accompany residents wishing to go out – with one person leaving the privately-run Fernlea home just eight times in July. The home has been criticised by the Care Quality Commission, (CQC), which says the building is poorly maintained and inadequately staffed. Inspectors visited the complex in Sway Road, Brockenhurst, and uncovered a range of faults, including unstable floorboards, loose nails and mould on the walls. The home caters for adults sent there by local authorities at the taxpayers’ expense. Now, Fernlea has been told to put things right or face further action from the CQC, which has the power to close facilities which flout the regulations. Last night, the home’s new owners vowed to address the issues, and said Fernlea was about to receive a major facelift. The CQC’s 23-page report describes water stains on some of the ceilings, plus peeling paint and a dirty bath. At the time of the inspection, it says one resident was having to spend each night in another home because their own room was too damp. The report adds: “We observed other areas of the home where the environment posed some risk to people using the service. “In some rooms, including the lounge, the radiator covers were coming away from the wall. “In the downstairs bathroom, the wooden boarding covering the water pipes was coming away from the piping. In the same room, the floorboards felt unstable. “The bed in one bedroom was unstable and had loose nails in the legs.” Another section of the report highlights too few staff on duty at any one time, preventing the residents from going out every day. A CQC spokesman said the organisation had told the home to submit a report setting out the action it intended to take to improve conditions. He added: “We will check to make sure that the improvements have been made.”


FORMERLY owned by Craegmoor, Fernlea has been bought by the Priory Group. It caters for up to 10 residents with learning difficulties who are unable to live independently. It charges from £894 a week. A Priory spokesman said: “The company’s standards are the highest in the sector and it is introducing its policies and procedures to all the new facilities in its ownership. “Priory is committed to continuously improving the services it offers to its residents. A comprehensive action plan has been submitted to the CQC to address the issues raised in the report and many of these have already been implemented. “A significant capital expenditure has been approved which will enable a major refurbishment of the home to take place. Staffing levels and duty rosters have been reviewed to enable staff to facilitate the activities of individual residents. “We are confident that our staff demonstrate kindness, concern and professionalism towards the people in our care and that the home provides them with a safe environment.”