A DARLINGTON care home has moved out of special measures but still requires improvement, a watchdog has said.

Rydal Care Home, in Darlington, received the latest rating following an inspection by officers from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in April.

It follows visits in August 2020, after whistleblowers called the watchdog over fears about staffing levels, and between December and January 2021.

Rydal was put in special measures after the CQC found staff had inadequate access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and did not have enough infection prevention measures in place.

The service’s safety and whether it is ‘well-led’ was rated requires improvement, however the latest inspection report said improvements had been made in a number of areas, including infection prevention and control practices, adequate access to PPE and improvements to staffing levels.

The CQC report said: “People and relatives felt the home was safe. They commented on how staff were able to provide kind and compassionate care.”

The report added that staff recruitment procedures had been improved since the December-January inspection.

A new manager was appointed in January and received praise from those interviewed by the inspectors.

“People felt the manager had made improvements,” the report said. “They were confident the improvements would continue to be made.

“The management team had sustained the improvements made to staffing levels and there were enough

staff on duty to keep people safe.”

A spokesman for Rydal Care Home said the facility's previous manager failed to follow clear protocols and measures put in place to manage Covid-19 infection prevention.

They added: “Urgent changes were made to the management structure to address the issues raised by the CQC and we liaised closely with the local authority and CQC to deliver a comprehensive action plan.

“We are pleased that the home is no longer in special measures.

"It was rated ‘good’ prior to recent events and we are confident as the changes we have made are embedded and sustained, this will enable us to achieve this rating once again.”