By Debbie le Quesne

System to improve failing homes sparks concerns

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The system used to improve failing is to be extended to care homes, the BBC announced last week.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) introduced the process a year ago at 11 failing trusts.

And the good news – most have made progress, though just five have been or are being taken out of special measures.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the scheme would be introduced for care homes and home-care agencies next year. It will mean 25,000 services are covered and could lead to the closure of those that fail to improve.

The Beeb explained that In the hospital sector, special measures has involved: Closer scrutiny by regulators; management changes; “buddying” schemes with successful trusts; and an improvement director being parachuted in to oversee any necessary changes.

Details of the regime for care homes are still being worked out, but is likely to “rely on shorter deadlines” to shock the providers into action.

“The first services will be placed in special measures from April, as the underlying ratings regime will be rolled out in the social-care system from the autumn’” the BBC says.

The scoring gives health and care services a rating of outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

CQC social care chief inspector Andrea Sutcliffe said extending the failure regime to social care would drive up standards, the Beeb reported.

The National Care Association said that anything that safeguarded vulnerable people “has got to be good”.

Nadra Ahmed, chairman of the National Care Association, was reported as saying that she said she have concerns about how the new measures would be implemented and the financial pressures.

Former Dudlley commissioner Mike Marshall RGN, RMN, MIHM, Dip.HSM had this to say: “As a Social Care Commissioner of many years the proposed new inspection scheme will be useless unless time is spent with the people who use the care home services.  

“Relatives are also a good proxy measure of satisfaction for people with a dementia. 

“Too much CQC time is spent office bound within care homes.  Many who ‘inspect’ are not appropriately trained or qualified – not only my view but those of care home proprietors, particularly in the West Midlands.

“Social Services, who place the majority of residents in care homes, also carry a responsibility for driving up standards.  Often their monitoring staff is insufficient or indeed lacking in experience to undertake the role adequately.  I have witnessed, whilst working in the North West, monitoring staff seeking to emulate the role of CQC instead of contractual issues and higher standards of actual care.”

Mike was the highly respected commissioner who worked in the Dudley borough for many years. His work significantly contributed the higher standards of caring that we have today.


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