As CQC struggles to complete the unnecessary farce of re-registering care homes, the homes themselves are saddled with star-ratings that are years out of date.
CQC have announced that care homes will retain their previous “star-ratings” until “at least” May 2011. Meanwhile more and more local authorities have decided that they have to re-create their own inspection system because the national regulator is totally unreliable.
One-star homes that have worked hard and invested to improve will not be recognized, and will be penalized by not being used by local authorities because they are stuck with a low rating.
The star-rating system introduced by CSCI was deeply flawed. It was inaccurate, inconsistent, and often unjust. It should never have been allowed to begin.
How is it that national care home regulators fail to get on with their real job while repeatedly inventing grand schemes that divert energy and resources from checking that homes are caring, homely and safe AND responding to residents’ and relatives’ concerns and complaints?
The Association of Care Managers (ACM) has proposed reforms to care homes inspection and has responded to CQC consultations but has never been invited to discuss these proposals with CQC.
The Association of Care Managers calls for a new approach to regulation and inspection of adult social care:
Prioritise the quality of care and the rights and safety of the people who use the services – this is the primary purpose of inspection
Inspect services as often as necessary but at least once a year
Inspectors should aim to prevent bad practice rather than to condemn it after it has occurred and after residents have suffered
Inspectors should be locally based and known – and accessible - to the public and users of the services
Inspection reports should be written for the public
Inspectors should work directly with residents and relatives, staff and managers, NOT with the provider groups and organisations
Inspectors should respond to and investigate complaints, and be willing and available to visit the service without notice and at any time
Inspectors should understand how the services work and be willing and able (when appropriate) to help services to improve
People who use services should have a formal and influential voice in the assessment of care.
We believe all of this can be achieved without increasing inspection fees. However, it will mean a total reorganisation of CQC, dismantling the centralised bureaucracy and grandiose management structure, and setting up local inspection teams employing independent inspectors who will be judged by - and paid by - results.
ACM supports the effective inspection of care services, concentrating on the rights, safety and wellbeing of those who use the services.
John Burton, Head of the Association of Care Managers