Relatives & Residents Association

We support, inform and speak on behalf of older people in care


CQC’s abdication of responsibility

26 May 2021:

The Relatives & Residents Association has expressed disappointment and despair at the Care Quality Commission’s abdication of responsibility which has left older people in care at continued risk. In a letter exchange with the CQC, the charity had set out how older people needing care have been badly let down by the regulator: ‘during the most difficult period in generations and with a human rights crisis unfolding in care, CQC retreated to the side-lines’. The letter was accompanied by a number of examples from the R&RA Helpline of the ongoing human rights infringements faced by those living in care, still facing isolation.


The response from the CQC is an unacceptable abdication of responsibility. It fails to acknowledge the devastating impact the past 14 months have had on older people in care, a group they exist to represent. It ignores R&RA’s main call for CQC to take a proactive role in monitoring compliance with visiting guidance. It misses the point entirely about CQC’s vital role in upholding minimum legal standards and rights which seem to have been superseded by the vagaries of non-statutory guidance.


Sadly, the letter from CQC reads more like a defence statement to a future public inquiry. Instead, this should have been CQC’s crucial opportunity to step up and use their powers to protect the rights and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of older people who need their regulator now more than ever.


Judy Downey, chair of the Relatives & Residents Association, said:

“CQC’s abdication of responsibility has left far too many people in care homes without any scrutiny or oversight. We continue to hear about those who feel abandoned in a strange and frightening world of masks and gowns and distancing and have given up. Many of their basic human rights continue to be ignored.

CQC exists to uphold legal standards and ensure that people receive safe, effective and high-quality care above all else. In the present crisis, people coming to the end of their lives need the regulator’s scrutiny more than ever. On behalf of the people we represent, including those without families or friends, we urge CQC to make this expectation a reality.”


R&RA’s letter to the CQC’s chief executive on 11 May is available here

CQC’s letter in response on 20 May is available here

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