CARE agency MiHomecare has been told it must improve or risk losing its contract with Wiltshire Council.

The ultimatum came in the same week that Melksham pensioner James McGee raised concerns about the care he received following a fall at his home, when the carer he hoped would come turned up an hour late.

James Cawley, Wiltshire Council’s associate director for adult care commission, said on Tuesday that if MiHomecare receives another critical Care Quality Commission report it could lose its contract with the council.

He was speaking after Martin Staunton, the boss of Melksham-based care agency, was called before the council’s Health Select Committee this week, as a result of the CQC deeming its service ‘unsafe’ earlier this year.

This was after the Wiltshire Times highlighted the concerns of patient Clare Campbell, 42, from Melksham, over carers’ poor timekeeping and the lack of continuity of carers.

The care watchdog found it was breaching health and safety regulations, medication was not being recorded correctly and there were not enough staff. Patients were also often left for hours without a visit, without access to food and drink.

At the meeting on Tuesday deputy chief executive of MiHomecare Martin Staunton said the company promised to improve. He said it had been facing difficulties recruiting suitable staff which was impacting the care it delivered. He also said new managers had been recruited within its management team to help with the agency’s recovery and it was working closely with the council’s adult care officers.

When asked if the service, whose carers visit disabled and

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elderly people at their homes, was safe he said they had made the improvements and the CQC would be returning to inspect in the next few months.

Chair of the committee Christine Crisp said: “The committee challenged the representatives from MiHomecare very robustly and made it clear that they expect to see ongoing improvements.

“I was satisfied with the presentation on their action plan in response to the CQC inspection. They seemed committed to achieve the improvements and answered the committee’s challenging questions frankly and openly.

“Wiltshire Council will continue to work very closely with MiHomecare to ensure their action plan is followed and achieved.”

The committee did not come to a final conclusion and it has been referred to its Help to Live at Home Working Group. It will make a series of recommendations in July.

Recovering heart bypass patient Mr McGee, 70, of Holbrook Vale, in Melksham, contacted the Wiltshire Times unhappy with the inconsistent visits he was getting from MiHomecare staff after starting to use the service last week.

After falling on his kitchen floor on Friday, he hoped help would arrive at the scheduled time of noon, but but the carer did not appear until an hour later causing him considerable anxiety.

Mr McGee, who cared for wife Mary for 22 years before she died in 2007 of multiple sclerosis, added: “I feel panicky thinking are they going to come or aren’t they going to come? Am I going to get a meal? I’m really really worried, I just want them to turn up on time and help the people who are ill.”