TWO York care homes which were strongly criticised by a watchdog last year have now been praised for making major improvements.

The Care Quality Commission has published positive reports following fresh inspections at South Park Nursing Home in Acomb, and Lifestyles in Scarcroft Hill.

Last summer, South Park – an 80-bed home in Gale Lane – was temporarily barred from admitting new residents after concerns were raised about the quality of care. A damning CQC report later revealed medication was sometimes given at the wrong time or not at all, and poor auditing and record keeping meant people’s health and safety was being placed at unnecessary risk of harm.

Now, following another inspection, the CQC says improvements have been made which are having a positive impact on people living and working at the home. It says comments from residents and relatives included: “They are very kind to me and we often have a good laugh,” and: “These carers are smashing!”

The commission says residents have care plans and risk assessments in place; the home has clear systems for supporting people with medication; and staff were trained in the safe handling of medicines.

“We saw people being assisted promptly and staff had time to spend with people,” it said.

Last summer’s report on Lifestyles, which provides accommodation for up to 19 adults who may have a learning disability or mental health needs, said it had been failing to protect residents from possible abuse and also imposing “potentially oppressive” restrictions on them and there was poor record-keeping. Residents later contacted The Press to defend the home.

The fresh report on Lifestyles says staff had responded positively to previously identified concerns, the manager had reviewed and updated care records, restrictions on residents had been lifted, all staff had received training in safeguarding adults and residents had said they liked living there.

Lifestyles manager Clare Bower said yesterday: “I have striven to meet the concerns of the CQC and have gone over and above to make sure everyone is happy, in particular the residents.”

A spokeswoman for South Park’s owners, Four Seasons, said it was pleased the CQC had acknowledged the home was now fully compliant and meeting all of its standards.

“Our regional management team oversaw a comprehensive programme of improvements in consultation with City of York Council to ensure we addressed the CQC’s previous concerns,” she said.

“The measures we have taken have ensured that our policies and procedures are being correctly implemented and we have also strengthened the team by recruiting new, permanent staff. The care and wellbeing of our residents is our priority and we will continue to work with the local authorities to ensure that we continue to meet their criteria.”