The parallel universes of social care
The Care Quality Commission’s adult social care ‘productivity’ dipped in August and for the umpteenth time the 90% target of annual inspections was missed by quite a margin. Why? Well, the teams were ‘under considerable pressure’ according to the chief inspector because of holidays, sickness, vacancies, retirement and ‘enforcement actions’.
In addition, of those care homes that were inspected and received a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating, 23% – or nearly one in four – were discovered to have deteriorated. On re-inspection, 20% ‘required improvement’ and 3% (that’s still a lot of homes) were ‘inadequate’. So, more special measures and enforcement action to do. Next year, ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ homes will be inspected even less often. The ‘timeliness’ of report writing continues to lag behind the generous ten-week target, but as usual, this is interpreted as ‘improving’.
As Andrea Sutcliffe, the CQC’s chief inspector for adult social care, delivered these statistics and excuses to the October board meeting, Peter Wyman, chair of the board, said, “So, a lot of good news then.” He wasn’t being sarcastic.
Reading the breathless self-congratulation and boundless optimism that emanates from the plethora of awards ceremonies, conferences, photo opportunities, provider organisations, professional puffery, and the bright and breezy twittersphere, one would get the impression that nothing ever went wrong in care homes, and that if it did, the regulator would soon see that it was put right. After all, in this parallel universe, the CQC claims that it ‘ensures’ the quality of care, and, just in case you had forgotten, to ensure is to make certain.
Today, I get another email from a distressed relative whose mother had been neglected and maltreated in a ‘good’ care home. Her mother was evicted because she complained to safeguarding and the CQC. She worried that she was no longer able to keep an eye on the other residents who were also at risk of the same treatment. On re-inspection the home was again rated ‘good’, and soon afterwards my correspondent discovered from the local paper that another resident had been abused.
So, a lot of good news then.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.