INSPECTORS have found major failings in the home care service being provided for the elderly in parts of the Borders.

More than 330 vulnerable clients in the Peebles, Galashiels, Selkirk and St Boswells areas rely on SB Cares' Home Care West Region Service.

But the Care Inspectorate has found many of them are left anxious and confused by visiting times regularly being changed.

They also found more than 20 different carers had visited some homes in just one month.

A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said: "We looked at consistency of staffing, the number of different staff visiting individuals over the months of October 2017 and January 2018.

"We found examples of over 20 different people visiting individuals in the Galashiels area over a month.

"Figures for Selkirk were better with more evidence of people being supported by smaller staff teams.

"The picture in Pebbles was mixed but again included people supported by up to 20 individuals in a month.

"We found problems with scheduling of visits resulting in poor outcomes for some people using the service. People told us that visit times could be erratic.

"People we spoke to in Peebles told us it was hard to get into a regular routine as the timings of morning visits kept changing. "People told us visit times could often move around. People told us this could lead to anxiety.

"One person had contacted the services on call to find out where her carer was to be told that her morning visit which was usually between 7:15 and 8:15 had been changed to 10:20."

The Home Care West Region service operates out of offices in Galashiels and Peebles.

Scottish Borders Council's arms-length care company has come under fire before for lack of leadership and communication.

And promises had been made in the past that improvements were being implemented.

But this most recent inspection also found further failings when it comes to vital medication record-keeping and care plans.

The spokesperson added: "We found some unaccounted for gaps in medication recording in homes visited.

"We also found examples of incorrectly completed medication administration records.

"In one instance problems relating to incorrect recording going back to August 2017 were only uncovered when a new carer visited and raised concerns about these records."

Inspectors found that an improvement required first ordered almost two years ago for all staff to receive training had not been met by bosses.

A further three recommendations for improvements, also dating back to April, 2016, regarding supervision, dementia training, and eLearning hadn't been met either.

The watchdog body imposed a further five improvement requirements following this latest inspection, which concluded last month, and four recommendations.

An SB Cares spokesperson said: “While the Care Inspectorate has identified some areas for improvement, a number of areas of the service have been praised and progress since the last inspection recognised.

“Consistency of staff visiting service users is a challenge for all home care providers due to recruitment challenges and staff absences, and especially so during the winter when severe weather can also affect staff travel. However, we do accept that this is extremely important to our service users and is an area that we are seeking to make improvements in.

“In addition, we welcome the feedback from service users and the inspectors in relation to the scheduling of visits and this too is a key focus for us.

“We are working to ensure that all five requirements and five recommendations made by the inspectors are met within the relevant timescales.

“It is particularly pleasing to note the praise for our staff, both from the inspectors and service users, and we are committed to delivering improvements to training and supervision in line with the report’s requirements and recommendations."