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Care Homes: Older People

Question for Department of Health

UIN 52186, tabled on 7 November 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure that care at elderly care homes (a) is of high quality and (b) ensures that families and friends are able to maintain strong relationships with the recipient of care through visitations.

Answered on

17 November 2016

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, all providers of regulated activities must register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and meet a set of Fundamental Standards of safety and quality, below which care provision should never fall.

The Fundamental Standards were introduced on 1 April 2015. They set out the basic requirements that providers should always meet and outline the outcomes that services users should always expect. The CQC monitors, inspects and regulates services against the Standards and publishes its findings.

Following inspection, the CQC rates providers on a four point scale - outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate. The ratings give patients and the public a fair, balanced and easy to understand assessment of performance and quality. Services rated inadequate receive help to improve, but any that are unable or unwilling to do so face closure.

Since 2014, the CQC has employed a tougher inspection regime, which makes use of a higher-skilled inspection resource in order to get to the heart of peoples’ experiences of care. Inspections are structured around five key questions that matter most – are services safe, caring, effective, well-led and responsive to peoples’ needs?

As at 3 October 2016, the CQC had rated 18,156, out of more than 25,000 adult social care services, of which 199 were judged to be outstanding, 13,182 good, 4,401 requires improvement and 374 inadequate. The CQC expects to have rated all services by the end of March 2017.

The Fundamental Standards include requirements that “People’s relationships with their visitors, carer, friends, family or relevant other persons should be respected and privacy maintained as far as reasonably practicable during visits” and that “Any complaint received must be investigated and necessary and proportionate action must be taken in response to any failure identified by the complaint or investigation”.

Anyone who is not satisfied with the response to a complaint about an adult social care service is entitled to ask the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate.