Urgent closures – minimising the collateral damage
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
I know that some of you might find it tedious that I keep banging on about the Care Quality Commission, but the latest urgent closure of the Old Village School Hall nursing home in Bedfordshire leads me to question the regulator’s modus operandi yet again.
Some 50 residents were moved, many after 6.30pm and some after 10pm. Some relatives described the process as having caused huge distress to old, vulnerable people, and it’s hard to see how this collateral damage to residents’ welfare can in any way be justified.
The charity Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) has called for a change in the law to protect the residents and has written to care minister Alistair Burt, calling for a change in the legal status of care homes that are subject to urgent cancellation, enabling them to be temporarily or permanently taken over by new management – whether a local authority, a CCG, or another commissioned provider.
The charity says the issue is not primarily about the actions of the regulator, or other agencies that have been involved in these closures, but about the failure of the legislation to effectively differentiate between the nature of social care businesses from that of other commercial enterprises.
I disagree. It only needs the regulator to put residents’ welfare ahead of its own craving for publicity which paints it as being tough, intrepid and ready to spring into dramatic action, and the present legal framework would be perfectly adequate. But AEA says the regulator is not at fault here. And yet it wants the law to be changed to prevent the blameless CQC going over the top when it comes to emergency closures – I’m still thinking about that.
Whatever the facts may be, whatever remedies other than emergency closure might have been considered, it is now curtains for the Old Village School, ever since CQC delivered its ‘justice by press release’. If I had had a relative in that facility, and if I had power of attorney, I would have expected to be consulted prior to the closure decision being made, but I suspect the relatives were presented with a fait accompli.
We don’t know the facts yet, but one cannot help but wonder if the option of parachuting-in a specialist care home management company until the best way forward could be determined was even considered. I’m waiting to see if the Relatives and Residents Association has anything to say.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.