Inspections over Christmas would be ‘unnecessarily intrusive and disruptive’ says RNHA
CT Extra, December 2012
The thought that inspectors could drop in unannounced to carry out routine inspections in care homes on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day, as the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said might happen, has been dismissed as unnecessarily intrusive and disruptive by the Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA).
Responding to a CQC press statement warning of inspections over the festive holiday period, RNHA chief executive officer Frank Ursell said it was almost as though the CQC felt it needed a pat on the back for its staff going round doing inspections instead of being with their own families.
Describing the CQC statement as ‘alarmingly sanctimonious’, Mr Ursell said: “Tens of thousands of care home staff will be giving up their time in order to make sure that patients have a good Christmas. Ordinarily, we wouldn’t be making a public song and dance about this. It’s what those of us who work in the sector simply expect to happen as a matter of course. Ours is a 24-hour a day, 365-day a year business and we recognise that it is especially important to help our residents celebrate at this time of year.”
He added: “Against this background we find it rather strange and not a little galling that the CQC should think it appropriate to send in the inspectors for purely routine purposes while care home residents are looking forward to their Christmas lunch and other activities. Our staff will be under particular pressure on this day of all days, and could certainly do without inspectors snapping at their heels.
“It is also something of an imposition on our residents to find CQC bureaucrats wandering around in what is, in effect, their home on a day when they just want to relax and enjoy themselves. “Of course, no one could object if something goes badly wrong in a care home and the CQC needs to mount an inspection as a matter of real urgency, but it looks to us as though the regulator’s ‘let’s catch them out at Christmas’ policy is a step too far for the vast majority of hard-working, conscientious care home staff.”
He concluded: “What would have been encouraging is if the CQC had expressed its thanks to all the care home and hospital staff in the country who unreservedly come into work over the holiday period to look after their patients. But, no, not a single word from the regulator about that. This is supposed to be a time of goodwill. In the CQC’s case, a pantomime villain springs more to mind. Our message to them is – give us a break!”