Two care homes in Suffolk rated inadequate

In December 2021 two care homes in Suffolk were placed in special measures after unannounced inspections.

Priory Paddocks Nursing Home in Darsham and Highfield House Care Home in Halesworth were rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Both homes told inspectors there had been difficulty recruiting staff but residents and their families said staff at both sites were hard-working and caring.

Priory Paddocks was caring for 30 people when it was inspected in October and November. Inspectors at Priory Paddocks found “incidents of abuse had not always been reported to the local authority who were responsible for investigating”. The inspectors stated – “We were not assured there were effective systems to keep people safe from harm”. Staff told inspectors some taps, baths and showers were not working, which meant they had to transport hot water in bowls and buckets. There were also issues with the call bell alarm system, which operated “intermittently and could not be heard throughout the building”. Inspectors said there had been no staff training or meetings since the start of the pandemic and although no one using the service had contracted Covid-19, the report said “infection control processes were not robust”. The manager said the home has decided not to admit any new residents because of issues recruiting new staff.

Highfield House was caring for 28 people when it was inspected in November. At Highfield House, the inspectors found that there was “insufficient staff to meet people’s needs”. Inspectors found medicines were not managed safely, risks to people’s health, safety and welfare were not managed effectively and care records were not always accurate. The report said residents were however, “mostly protected from the risks associated with the spread of infection, including Covid-19”. A spokesman for Castlemeadow Care, which runs Highfield House, said: “We took immediate action on the concerns raised and, since the inspection, we have addressed the majority of other issues. In addition, we have a robust action and improvement plan.”

If you have any queries about care homes or planning in general for care in later life, please contact us.

Ann-Marie Matthews is a solicitor in the private client team at Barker Gotelee, Ipswich Solicitors.

Suffolk Private Client Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email