A CARE agency that looks after about 170 people has been told to improve after Covid sickness and isolation meant staff could not ensure their safety.

Agincare provides carers for people living within their own homes in Brighton and Hove and was inspected by the health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), in August.

Inspectors found that Covid had affected staffing levels and sickness and this was impacting negatively on systems designed for scheduling care visits.

A report published this month said: "There were not always enough skilled staff employed.

"Staff were also not deployed in a way that met people's needs and ensured their safety.

"We received mixed feedback from people and staff in relation to staffing levels, and staff arriving at appropriate times to assist people with their care."

Inspectors spoke to city residents who were being looked after by Agincare.

One said: "They all do a good job even though they're short-handed.

"They're on time and do everything they're supposed to."

However, another person said: "I can't walk at all, so two people are needed, and I have them four times a day.

"The last three months have been an absolute nightmare.

"They're not doubling up and I can't move."

Carers working for the service told inspectors that staffing and sickness levels had impacted their ability to deliver help.

"The office are doing all they can, I feel sorry for them," said one staff member.

"There is a lot of sicknesses and we don't have enough staff, but I'm confident things will improve."

Inspectors gave the service the "requires improvement" rating – the second-lowest possible.

This is a downgrade from its previous rating of "good" – the second best.

Agincare UK Managing Director Luke Holmes said: “We are committed to providing high quality care for all our clients, so we are naturally disappointed with the Care Quality Commission’s report.

"At the time of the inspection we were operating under exceptional circumstances with labour shortages relating to Covid, and this is recognised in the report.

"As also recognised in the report, we have already made changes to drive improvements needed and will continue to do so as a matter of priority; and I am confident that the inspectors will see more positive change in their next visit.”