A CARE service for people with learning disabilities has been downgraded after it failed to report a "serious incident" for two months.

The Care Quality Commission downgraded Hollyhurst, in Darlington, from 'good' to 'requires improvement' after carrying out an inspection over five days in October and November.

The Cygnet-run facility provides care for up to 19 people with learning disabilities.

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The watchdog said some aspects of the service were not always safe.

Concerns were raised about a serious incident which happened in July 2021 but was not reported to the CQC for two months. An investigation did not take place until late August.

It was noted the registered manager was open and honest about delays in reviewing incidents and said the provider had taken action to make sure people were safe following the July incident.

The registered manager told the CQC there was a delay in reviewing of four weeks due to their workload.

During the inspection, staff said sickness was impacting on staffing levels. The CQC said staffing levels were safe and the service was working on a recruitment and retention plan to reduce high levels of agency staff.

The CQC noted that residents and their relatives were happy about the care provided.

A spokesperson for Hollyhurst said the CQC's recommendations had been adopted within 24 hours.

They said: "Whilst we are naturally disappointed with the rating, which was largely impacted by a single isolated incident that has since been resolved, we have been able to reassure our residents and their families that the improvements recommended by the CQC were fully adopted and completed within 24 hours of the inspection.

"The safety and wellbeing of all our residents is paramount, and this is reflected in the positive comments made to the CQC inspectors by our staff and residents' families who spoke warmly of the care and support their loved ones received.

"We have already urged the CQC to return to Hollyhurst for a follow-up inspection, and we are hopeful the Good rating we enjoyed for many years will soon be restored.

"We are grateful for continued support of our residents, their families and our wonderful staff team, who all contribute to the inclusive and positive culture that we promote at Hollyhurst."

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