1 September 2017: R&RA is alarmed to see that CQC is again seeking to reduce the frequency of inspections to care homes rated ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ to three and two and half years respectively. Why are we so concerned? At present, 1% of care homes for older people (2% of all care homes) manage to reach the regulatory standard of ‘outstanding’ but this figure alone is not sufficiently reliable. CQC’s own figures reveal that 50% of all those care homes rated as ‘outstanding’, drop to the much lower rating of ‘requires improvement’ on the following inspection, while 26% of all homes rated as ‘good’ drop to either ‘requires Improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.
In our response to the latest CQC proposals to reduce the number of inspections combined with a more flexible approach to registration, we argue that these are “alarming and without justification. CQC’s own data shows that there can be major changes in the quality of care within a much shorter period, even where the home remains under the same ownership and management”. The potential harm that these changes imply for vulnerable older people at the end of their lives is worryingly clear. By CQC’s own admission, collecting relevant intelligence on care homes is a challenge. No so-called ‘intelligence’ can replace the need for rigorous inspection. Given the generally disappointing lack of high quality care for older people, any proposal to further reduce inspection frequency presents a real risk for dependent older people living in care.
To see our full response, please click here.