ADVERTISING watchdogs have accused a Hampshire care provider of making misleading claims about its performance.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says Colten Care, which has 20 residential homes across the south, is “likely” to have breached the Advertising Codes.

It follows the publication of a Colten Care advertisement highlighting the outcome of a questionnaire.

The ad said: “Professionals who visit our homes rate us highly. In a survey of 171 professionals, 99 per cent said they would personally recommend a Colten Care home, 99 per cent said the nurses had good clinical knowledge and 99 per cent said residents were treated with respect and dignity.”

The ASA stepped in after receiving a complaint from Maggie Pitman of Hordle.

As reported in the Daily Echo her mother, Majorie Pitman, was told to leave a Colten Care home in New Milton after her family complained about the standard of care she was receiving. She died just weeks after moving to another home in the New Forest.

Colten Care described the complaints as “unfounded” and “without substance”.

But Miss Pitman wrote to the ASA to complain about a Colten Care advertisement published at the end of last year.

She said: “I question who the 171 professionals were who gave their views and how qualified they were to actually answer the three questions posed.

“How long did they spend with the residents and staff in order to make an informed decision? In my experience external professionals are in and out as quickly as possible. Their remit is to do a procedure/observation of the resident, not to assess the proficiency of the staff.”

Miss Pitman has now received a reply in which the ASA says Colten Care is “likely” to have breached the Advertising Codes.

The letter says: “We consider that some of the concerns you raised regarding the annual feedback and medical professional surveys are likely to mislead.

“We have explained your concerns to Colten Care and provided guidance to them on the areas that require attention, together with advice on how to ensure that their advertising complies with the codes.”

Tim Wookey, Colten Care’s director of marketing, said: “We placed the advert after receiving exceptionally good praise from various third party sources.

“These included reports from our regulator the Care Quality Commission, independent scores on the review site and surveys we had carried out among our residents, families and professional contacts.”

“As a responsive and responsible care home provider, we use information from all these sources to ensure continual improvement.

“We do this rigorously and with integrity. The aim of the advert was to share a reassuring message about our high standards of care accurately, carefully and in good faith.“We do however acknowledge the ASA’s point that while CQC and are truly independent sources, our own surveys are carried out in-house or through a third party on our behalf and we should have represented the survey data in that way.”