The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been carrying out a three-year inspection in all establishments offering care services across England. Their findings have identified that over 1,300 of the 4,000 care homes are failing safety checks.
Prior to 2014, before a tougher system was implemented, problems were going undetected, but the CQC has cracked down on the 24,000 services in the sector which provides care to one million vulnerable people, and its recent inspection revealed issues surrounding drug errors, lack of staff and falls.
200,000 vulnerable or elderly people reside in nursing homes, which the inspection found as having the most serious problems. 37% of the homes failed on safety, with a quarter of them rated not safe enough, meaning 70,000 people are living in unsafe conditions. The inspections also highlighted issues with recruiting and retaining nurses. Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of adult social care at the CQC notes that funding remains and issue for the sector but argues that a lack of money is “no excuse” for poor care.
In particular, inspectors found poor care at a West Yorkshire care home, where a 62 year old man had died from breaking his neck in a fall from a shower chair. In London, a 79 year old woman had serious burns after falling against and uncovered radiator. And in a number of cases, residents had been put back to bed in the morning because there had not been enough staff to provide care and support, meaning that they were not getting help to eat or use the toilet. Nicola O’Brien, head of policy and campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society said that the “investigation last year revealed people with dementia left in soiled sheets, or becoming ill after eating out-of-date food”.
Following their investigations, inspectors have prosecuted five care providers where staff had been violent towards people in their care, and another 1,000 have had action taken against them, including being closed down and having warning notices issued. Of all 24,000 adult social care services in England, 21% have been judged “inadequate” or “requires improvement” and these establishments deemed as ‘failing’ will continue to be closely monitored, says the CQC. But concern has grown because some services have even been downgraded after re-inspection. More than 1,800 services were inspected more than once since 2014, and 26% of these were subsequently relegated to “requires improvement” or even “inadequate” after initially gaining a rating of “good”.
Jackie Doyle-Price, the newly appointed minister for social care, said, “While this report shows that the vast majority of people receive ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ adult social care, it is completely unacceptable that standards in some settings are below those rightly expected by care users and their families.”
Ally Taft, Partner at the Medical Accident Group says, “It is deeply worrying that such a large number of vulnerable people are at risk in a place where they should feel the safest. The recent findings of the Care Quality Commission’s inspections will undoubtedly leave families fearing the worst for their loved ones.”
If you or a family member has fallen victim to sub-standard care at a nursing home, hospital, GP surgery or other medical establishments, contact our specialist team today on 0800 050 1668 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can guide you through the process of making a claim.