The Graham home, highlighted on Monday’s BBC South’s ‘Inside Out’ investigation, is a powerful argument against the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) newest approach to reduced inspection.
Judy Downey, R&RA Chair was interviewed about the CQC’s report on Hailsham House in East Sussex. Listen to the programme here
Peter Wyman, the new Chair of the CQC, opined to the media at the weekend that in our brave new world of ‘big data’, inspections can happen less frequently, not to mention the importance of Facebook and other social media as sources of intelligence.
Where to begin?
Firstly, ‘big data’ hardly features in care homes – there are few acceptable bases for comparison. Secondly, there is no mandatory training for care workers. Next, no required (or even recommended) staff ratios. Despite the clear statement in the Regulations that there must be sufficient numbers of suitably trained and qualified staff, it is clear that many care and health workers are learning on the job. All too often there are few members of staff in a care home with more than a very basic qualification. There are also very many areas of basic practice not covered by the “Fundamental Standards”. And, sadly, from evidence to our Helpline, even when there are many serious breaches of regulation, there is often little or no follow-up. Hailsham House was rated ‘good’ under CQC’s last brand new ratings scheme in 2013. As a result, it wasn’t inspected for another approximately 18 months. At the next inspection in November 2014, it was rated ‘safe’, according to limited criteria, most of which were contradicted in the body of the report. This highly critical report, which did not appear until several months after the inspection, despite appalling and unforgivable practices, which although witnessed at the inspection, apparently did not merit any follow up until the media showed interest.
We cannot rely on a system which depends on a whistle-blower contacting the media.
The programme also revealed unlawful and exploitative employment practices and a casual and possibly fraudulent approach to record-keeping.
Our case rests.