Darlington retirement village has been rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC

From left, Director Lesley Henderson, Head of Care and Quality Debbie Lamont, Managing Director Jeremy Walforn, Deputy Chief Inspector at the Care Quality Commission Debbie Westhead and Operations Director Pam Mooney.

A retirement village has been rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission following a recent inspection.


Middleton Hall Retirement Village, near Darlington was found to be outstanding following an unannounced 3 day inspection by the CQC in January 2017.


Under CQC’s programme of inspections, all adult social care services are assessed and given a rating according to whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. Middleton Hall was not only rated outstanding overall but the CQC found Middleton Hall to be outstanding in all five domains.

This is a rare achievement as only three other organisations inspected in the whole of the North have demonstrated this level of service, an achievement Debby Lamont, Registered Manager and Head of Care and Quality is extremely proud of.

“I am delighted that the dedication and commitment by all our staff across the whole retirement village has been recognised. Everybody has a major part to play in the person centred service we provide.  We continually strive for excellence and continuous improvement at Middleton Hall. This is embedded into our culture and values system. I am so pleased the CQC inspectors could see how we work with residents so that they really live life to the full. Without exception, every single member of staff genuinely cares about residents, each other and our wider community.

Debbie Westhead , CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care in the North joined Jeremy Walford Managing Director, Debby Lamont, Head of Care and Quality and Directors, Lesley Henderson Finance) and Pam Mooney (Operations) to celebrate this high accolade.

Debbie commented We found the quality of care provided at Middleton Retirement Village in Darlington to be outstanding.  The service is one of only three in the North of England that has received an outstanding rating for all five questions that we ask on inspection. We saw a caring service that encouraged people to remain as independent as possible.”

“Without exception, people using the service and their families, told us they were extremely happy with the level of care received and we saw highly motivated staff that were very satisfied with the work that they were doing.

The culture at Middleton Hall was also very impressive. It was caring, open and transparent. Staff worked closely and effectively with other healthcare partners and really took people’s views on board and acted on feedback”.

“This unique service, which catered to people’s changing needs is truly setting an example, and I hope other care providers look to them to see what outstanding care looks like. The whole team should be very proud of the service they are providing.”

Jeremy Walford, Managing Director of Middleton Hall commented, “The CQC inspects almost 25,000 services including hospitals, GP Practices, dental services as well as care homes and I believe only one other care home in the North has achieved outstanding in all five domains. Middleton Hall has always strived for improvement – our vision has always been about being the best. 

I am obviously delighted that the CQC agrees that we are outstanding.  What is particularly significant is that the report covers every part of Middleton Hall – all our team contribute to our achievement of being an “Outstanding” and indeed we are fortunate to have such an outstanding team working at the retirement village.

One of the main factors in gaining such a high rating is our continual commitment to improvement.  So, in case anyone thought we might rest on our laurels at this point – no chance.  There is still much to do on our journey of excellence and we will keep moving forward to make sure that we remain outstanding in everything we do.” 

In May, Middleton Oaks, a new purpose built innovative care facility will open, following the success of the pioneering family living model of care. This will complement the other services above. Middleton Oaks, will house two, eight bed households with a high ratio of staff to residents. Residents will be actively encouraged to live like they would have at home, participating in daily tasks including cooking, baking and housekeeping. This style of living is particularly suitable for those who live with dementia.


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