The Care Quality Commission, our very own, very expensive social care regulator, insists that YOU have a plan but THEY don’t seem to have a clue, let alone a plan.
In answer to a Freedom of Information request from John Burton, Head of The Association of Care Managers, CQC said they didn’t know how much time inspectors spend on site visits, and they could not estimate how much time inspectors will spend in care homes next year. So how do they plan the workforce?
If a care home manager was unable to estimate the hours needed to give good care and then to plan staffing to provide that care, she or he would be rightly castigated for falling down on the job. Of course, there are times when extra staffing is required to respond to additional needs but without a plan the result is chaos (and neglect).
But CQC should know how much time is spent on each visit because inspectors have to record their times in and out of a home. They do admit to counting the number of visits made and how many homes are visited, but not it seems until the end of the year.
During the year 2009/10 they visited 9,603 care homes.
During the six months 1st April - 30th September 2010 they visited 2,884 care homes.
From October 2010 until now, they don’t know how many care homes they’ve visited, but they tell us that the figures will be available from “April onwards” (or this year, next year, sometime, never).
It does seem reasonable to expect CQC to plan their work for their third year of operation starting in a month’s time: “How many inspectors will we need to carry out X number of site visits (inspections) at an average of Y hours each?” Simple stuff really.
The trend of visits is certainly steeply downwards. Is it going to be one in ten homes visited next year? Or one in twenty or thirty? Or will CQC continue the pattern of making a site visit only when an inspection is required simply to “confirm” (as CQC like to put it) what everyone else has been telling them for the last six months?
Can CQC honestly claim that they are providing useful information to help people choose a care home, when the information on their website is so inaccurate and out of date, and when they haven’t EVER visited so many homes? And how can they propose increasing “inspection” fees when they don’t inspect?
Can someone remind us what CQC is for?
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