The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has yet again almost managed to airbrush itself out of existence. If only it could finish the job properly and be done with the constant whitewashing of the responsibility of the Regulator. Then the world of care might be a better place.
It took a BBC Panorama programme to open CQC eyes to the abuse that was going on at Winterbourne View hospital in Bristol, and for the CQC then to realise there were ‘serious concerns’ about the quality of care being provided by Castlebeck. It took an undercover reporter to force the CQC to do the job it should be doing: inspecting thoroughly, reporting efficiently and demanding that action is taken to prevent any care provider from providing neglect rather than care.
When I first contacted the CSCI (as CQC’s predecessor was called then) about my serious concerns about the care my relative received in a care home, CSCI’s Inspector told me that she would contact the manager of the care home. I heard nothing from the CSCI, so I chased for a progress report. Much to my surprise, I was told that the manager had informed CSCI that a meeting had been arranged and that “all my concerns had been resolved at the meeting”. The CSCI believed the manager and closed the book. There was no ‘meeting’ and my concerns were not resolved. Far from it.
Then, the mental health care of older people team carried out an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of my relative in care. I was excluded from all meetings, from everything other than an initial ‘interview’ with the investigator.
Then, the Local Authority ‘claimed ownership’ of the report – and continued to exclude me from all meetings.
The CSCI took a back seat, knowing full well that it would bring a cloud over the care provider, the CSCI inspectors, the Local Authority commissioning department etc. if all the details were to be ‘in the public domain’. It all remains closeted behind closed doors.
How many similarities are there between the report into the circumstances surrounding the death of my own relative and the CQC report on Castlebeck ?
Try these for starters, although I have paraphrased some:
- problems that need to be addressed at a corporate level – the company needs to make root and branch improvements to its services and processes
- we have demanded improvements
- Where there were immediate concerns about people’s safety action was taken. In the case of Winterbourne View this action led to its closure. In the case of the care home I was dealing with, it was not allowed to admit new residents for a year, a massive improvement plan came into existence which had to be worked through before any new admissions were allowed.
- lack of staff training, poor care planning, failure to notify relevant authorities of safeguarding incidents
- The registered provider did not have robust systems to assess and monitor the quality of services provided in the carrying on of the regulated activities.
The registered provider did not identify, assess or manage risks relating to the health, welfare and safety for the people who use this service.
- The registered provider did not operate effective recruitment procedures.
The registered provider failed in relation to their responsibilities by not providing the appropriate training and supervision to staff, which would be required to enable them to deliver care and treatment to the people who use the service.
There was a lack of leadership and management and ineffective operation of systems for the purposes of monitoring of the quality of service that people receive.
As for staffing issues, there are so many people in the real world aware of the fact that care homes are endangering people’s lives by running their operation with too few staff, poorly trained, badly paid, unsupervised staff. Families are aware of it – what took the CQC so long?
How many Castlebeck’s are there in the world? I know of one providing Care in the UK! An animal that is growing daily, getting bigger and fatter and likely to become even fatter. As long as everything shabby and shoddy is kept hidden, the world will never know.
It took an undercover reporter to shock the CQC into action! Disgraceful. I know I’ve banged on about this one before, but it really does begin to make the CQC look even more ridiculously toothless than some of us know it to be.
Why should the Castlebeck report be in the public domain – yet the damning report into the neglect of my own relative is concealed from view? I wonder whether Andrew Lansley might like to comment on that one!!
As for Paul Burstow’s statement, “as a Government we intend to ensure that that doesn’t happen again” – I’m sick and tired of hearing that one. Because it does happen again – and again – and again.
Helga Pile, Unison’s head of social care, said: “Elderly care is a service where mandatory regulation is vital to protect their interests. The privatised model means that the time carers can spend with each person is minimal, forcing corners to be cut, and employers see basic training as an expensive luxury.”
“It is not right to try to get elderly care on the cheap.”
The rich care providers grow richer – the people in need of care are neglected and die as a result. The CQC is part of the problem.