New admissions have been suspended at an Ipswich care home over concerns residents needs were "not being met safely". 

The Willows Care Home in Crabbe Street, Ipswich, has gone from Good to Inadequate in less than 12 months.

The Care Quality Commission also issuing three warning notices which require immediate improvements relating to safety, staffing and management.

During their visit in March, an inspector saw one resident kick another in a communal area when there was no staff present.

Upon alerting staff, inspectors were told "the two residents were often in conflict".

In the latest report, the once good home was rated inadequate in the Safe and Well-led categories and requires improvement for being Effective, Caring and Responsive. 

Hazel Roberts, CQC deputy director of operations in the East of England, said: "We were very concerned to find people’s needs and preferences weren’t being met safely at The Willows.

"Staff weren’t regularly supporting people with their personal care, such as bathing and brushing their teeth, which compromised their dignity and risked their health. This reflected a severe shortage of staff, which was worsened by gaps in staff training and poor care records, with some people telling us that staff didn’t know how to support them.

"Leaders were unaware of the problems in the service, despite many of them being clearly visible to our inspectors when walking around the home. 

"We’ve shared our findings with management at The Willows and told them where we expect to see immediate improvements.

"We’ll continue to monitor the home very closely to ensure people are safe in the meantime and won’t hesitate to take further action if improvements are not made quickly."

The CQC found six breaches in regulations of The Health and Social Care Act 2008, with a "lack of robust measures to mitigate identified risks to people to keep them safe".

They also found there was "insufficient staffing levels" and the system to monitor staffing levels was ineffective.

The report said "numerous people's bedrooms had mesh gates across the doors" that were in place to safeguard people from others who entered people's bedrooms.

People told inspectors that it didn't make them feel safer and the gates could be opened by turning a button and lifting the gate from the hook.

A statement from Social Healthcare, who run The Willows, said: "We were expecting the report from the CQC and we are working closely with both the Commission and Suffolk County Council to make the necessary improvements to our service."

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: "We are aware of the situation at The Willows and are working closely with both the provider and the CQC to ensure that the necessary improvements are completed as soon as possible. 

"In line with our current policies, we have suspended all new care placements with The Willows until the improvements are made."