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CQC rates Harrogate care home inadequate and places it in special measures

Mary Fisher House, a residential care home for people over 65 in Harrogate, has been rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and placed in special measures, following an inspection in February.

This latest inspection was prompted after receiving concerns about the service. During the visit, inspectors found issues regarding people’s safe care and treatment, consent to the care received, the standard of the premises and equipment, as well as staffing levels and governance.

Inspectors rated the care home inadequate overall and for being safe, effective, responsive and well-led. Caring is rated as requires improvement. Mary Fisher House was previously rated requires improvement overall.

Alison Chilton, CQC’s head of inspection, network north said:

I was extremely disappointed to find the standards at Mary Fisher House, fell short of those that people deserve and have a right to expect.

The management of medicines was unsafe, with doses being given late or not at all on some occasions. Accidents and incidents weren’t always recorded or examined to prevent repeat events, and parts of the premises weren’t safe.

We observed exposed light fittings and woodwork, which could have caused harm to people, and there were fire doors with large gaps underneath that were clearly unfit for purpose.

People using this service were very much at risk of avoidable harm, which is why we have rated it inadequate and placed it in special measures.

I am pleased however, that since the inspection, the service has already taken steps to improve and has begun working with the local authority to make the necessary changes and to address the most serious risks.

We are monitoring the service closely and will carry out another inspection in the coming months to make sure the provider is operating the service safely and effectively for the people in their care.


Mary Fisher House said:

We accept the CQC rating and regret that standards at Mary Fisher House have fallen below the standards expected of us.

Areas for improvement were identified in the recent inspection and we are committed to working closely with the CQC and North Yorkshire County Council to ensure changes are made quickly to redress this situation.


Rachel Bowes, North Yorkshire’s Assistant Director of Adult Social Care, said:

The CQC inspection identified some serious failings but we are confident management at Mary Fisher House want to take swift and meaningful action to improve the service they offer.

We fully intend to support them in that and look forward to seeing progress. We were also pleased to see the CQC report highlighted the fact that staff at Mary Fisher House worked hard to meet the needs of people in their care and people were able to speak freely when the inspection took place.

The inspection found:

  • There were insufficient staffing levels to safely support people and meet their needs. Low staff numbers and high turnover meant staff did not have time to engage meaningfully with people and that interactions with those using the service were mostly task-based.
  • People did not always feel well-supported, cared for or treated with dignity and respect. Limited consideration had been given to adapting the environment to the needs of people living with dementia, such as using contrasting colour schemes or additional signage. People’s consent was not always sought in the care they received, and people were not supported to have full choice or control of their lives.
  • Staff who administered medicines had not always been trained and although there was a medicines’ policy in place, staff practice was not always in line with this. There was a strong reliance on agency staff, who had not completed an induction to ensure they could safely work in the service and understand people’s needs.
  • Infection prevention and control measures were not adequate or in line with government guidance, and personal protective equipment (PPE) was not always worn or disposed of correctly.
  • Parts of the building were unclean, with some bedrooms smelling strongly of urine and evidence of rodent droppings in the kitchen.
  • The building had not been well maintained, although longstanding issues with the hot water supply were being dealt with.


  • The inspection team found that staff were polite to those people they cared for and they worked hard to try and meet people’s needs. Improvements had also been made to safely recruit staff since the last inspection.
  • There was a complaints policy in place, with issues being responded to appropriately and some people were able to share their views with CQC and did so confidently and freely.
  • The provider had also received some positive feedback from the families of people in its care thanking staff and showing appreciation for the attention and treatment their relatives had received.
  • Leaders at the service listened and responded to concerns shared by CQC during the inspection. They have also been proactive in working with local social care and health agencies to utilise their knowledge to make improvements.

The full report will be published on the CQC website on Wednesday 13 April 2022. See