A care home at which 27 “incidents of assault” occurred over a two-month period has been given the lowest possible overall rating by the national watchdog for care.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated Belmont Lodge Care Centre, in Fencepiece Road, Chigwell, inadequate’ overall.

The report, published on January 4 following an unannounced inspection in November 2019, ranked the home ‘inadequate’ in two of five inspection criteria: whether the home was safe and well led.

CQC inspectors said the home’s safeguarding systems were not effectively protecting people from the risk of abuse.

One resident was involved in “27 incidents of assault” towards staff and other residents over a two-month period last year. Inspectors found “no evidence following each incident that a robust protection plan had been put into place to protect other people and staff.”

Inspectors did note the incidents had been reported to the safeguarding authority and the culprit had subsequently left.

The home provides care for up to 46 older people some who have dementia – at the time of inspection 33 people were being supported.

One resident told CQC inspectors: "Now I've got a gate on my door I feel safe. I had people wandering in and the original gate was too low and a [person] could climb over."

Another person said: "I don't like the screaming and behaviour in the lounge. I realise they can't help it but when it's like that I'd rather be in my room."

Between June and September of 2019 inspectors identified 30 unwitnessed accidents and incidents with 16 resulting in injury.

CQC inspectors said the home’s files failed to properly record and protect residents vulnerable to falls.

Inspectors wrote: “On one date the person had sustained four falls, on their care plan review recorded on the same date staff had only recorded two falls. One person sustained a serious injury resulting in a fracture in March 2019 however their falls risk assessment indicated they were at ‘low’ risk of falls.”

The home was also criticised for an “insufficient” number of “skilled and competent” staff to keep people safe and meet their needs.

However, staff were praised for being “caring” despite sometimes lacking the skills and knowledge to undertake their role.

The service has been placed in 'special measures'. This means CQC will keep the service under review and will re-inspect within six months to check for “significant” improvements.

A spokesperson for Belmont Lodge said: “We are deeply disappointed with the latest CQC rating of Belmont Lodge. The health and safety of our residents is of paramount importance to us.

“We recognise that we made mistakes in other areas following a turbulent time in the home, including the distressed behaviour of a resident at the time.

“Since inspectors visited the home last year, our teams have worked incredibly hard to review and tighten our procedures, bringing in additional expertise to assist and expedite improvements. We are determined that we will restore our overall ‘food’ rating.”