20 June 2017: Last night’s ‘Dispatches’ about BUPA care homes on Channel 4 made tough viewing. Heartbreaking depictions of residents being treated without care, compassion or competence were harrowing to watch. The homes featured have had unsatisfactory CQC reports again and again. Whatever enforcement action has been undertaken has clearly failed the residents of Crawfords Walk and Perry Lock miserably.
Light touch regulation has gone too far
Failures of regulation are very much at the top of commentators’ agendas at present. Care home residents form a dependent population, more reliant than most on effective regulation to protect them from harm.
This means that there must be systems in place to ensure that there is proper oversight and that inspectors operate with sufficient expertise and rigour. However, our Helpline reveals that there continue to be too many breaches of regulation and care home residents remain vulnerable to these failures.
Light touch regulation has gone too far. The R&RA was dismayed by the weakening of the Regulations in relation to emergency procedures for care homes and argued for their reinstatement. Unless the Regulations are strong and unambiguous, some of those managing homes will inevitably cut corners and worse, as shown last night.
This means that both inspectorates and commissioners must be seen to understand their importance and ensure that they are taken seriously.