Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Andrea Sutcliffe, marked the launch of new ‘tell us about your care’ partnership with The Silver Line helpline on BBC Breakfast
The partnership is an important new channel to help us reach out to even more elderly people who might be cared for in their homes or in residential care – and hear about their experiences of care.
Today’s news comes at the same time as The Silver Line celebrates its one-year anniversary as the national free, confidential 24/7 helpline offering information, friendship and advice for older people who may live alone.
Since it began last November, The Silver Line has received 275,000 calls, with more than half the callers telling the helpline they had nobody else to talk to.
Through our ‘tell us about your care’ partnership, anyone can share their concerns – and anonymously if preferred – if they feel they are not being listened to, or might not feel able to speak directly to those responsible for delivering safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led services that CQC expects.
The partnership is also an opportunity to help identify best practice examples where high quality and compassionate care is being provided.
Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: “I am very pleased that we will be working in partnership with The Silver Line to reach the most isolated older people who are receiving care and may need our support and protection.
“We believe that working together, we will be able to improve the standards of care for older people that may be falling short of the quality they need and deserve. It is also an opportunity to recognise examples of excellence and to highlight best practice to share with others.”
Sophie Andrews, CEO at The Silver Line, said: “Silver Line has been described as ChildLine for Older People and we are delighted to mark our first birthday, with this life-saving new partnership. We will work jointly with CQC to help older people and their families raise concerns about the standard of care they are receiving whether in a care home or in their own homes.
“One of the first calls to The Silver Line was from a lady in a care home who was too afraid to give her name but did give the name of the care home where the residents had been left without food and the heating turned off. The police were involved and the residents are now safe.
“The Silver Line is in a unique position to reach and be reached by people who would not otherwise report poor standards of care and neglect and to work with CQC to better protect the most vulnerable and growing sector of our society – the frail oldest people. We are now exploring opportunities with Care Inspectorates in all the nations. “
Esther Rantzen, Founder and President of The Silver Line, said: “This Christmas will be a very tough time for thousands of older people on their own. Many of them have families in the UK, but still have to spend the holiday entirely alone with only memories for company. I am so glad that The Silver Line was launched in time for Christmas last year, and I know from speaking to our callers, and reading their letters that we really made a difference.
“But without help from the public we cannot continue to be there for all the people who need us. There are many good causes these days but I believe at Christmas time we need to remember our older people. They have been neglected and abandoned too long, they deserve our love and respect, and after all, they have earned it.”
Today’s launch of an initial 6-month partnership with The Silver Line is the latest in a number of other projects we have with national charities to gather feedback from people who contact them about their experiences of care: