Cornwall care homes exposed by Panorama placed in special measures

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Panorama conducted an investigation into two care homes which have now been placed in special measures. CQC brought forward its schedule of inspections for these Homes after being provided with information by Panorama.

The documentary involved two undercover reporters working as staff and one posing as a resident. They uncovered serious staffing issues and issues with neglect and services unable to maintain the dignity and privacy of service users. The show was aired on 21 November 2016 and CQC acted quickly on the information provided by placing both Homes into special measures. CQC already had two additional care homes owned by the same provider-not included in the documentary- on its radar and was completing follow-up inspections at the same time to see that requirements ordered from previous inspections had been adequately acted upon.

Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, said: “These reports make horrifying reading – people in distress being ignored by staff; a person lying in a urine-soaked bed for two hours; people sat in the same chair all day with uneaten meals in front of them, and no help to eat or drink; someone needing medical attention waiting weeks to be referred to their GP.”

The provider of the Homes has apologised for the service that has been provided to residents, their families and staff. They have also noted that the CQC has decided to put all four care homes into special measures despite only achieving inadequate in 9 of 20 areas inspected by CQC.

According to CQC’s own ratings principles contained in Appendix C of the provider handbook the decision to rate three of the four homes as inadequate is open to challenge. By CQC’s own admission each of the five key questions is of equal weight. Three out of four of these Homes were rated inadequate despite only being rated inadequate for two out of five questions; the remainder were rated requires improvement, yet the overall rating for the homes was inadequate.  Contained within the same guidance is the proviso which states that if two or more questions are rated inadequate the overall rating will normally be inadequate; it also states if two or more questions are requires improvement the overall rating will normally be requires improvement.

The provider, whilst contrite, appears to be correct in asserting that placing three of the Homes into special measures is disproportionate as against CQC’s own guidance.  Whilst all involved condemn the action or lack thereof of those involved in the provision of below-par care some might say that the reaction from CQC is excessive in light of the ratings reached by the regulator for three of these Homes.



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