CQC launches spot checks on providers of home care

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

It was announced today that the Care Quality Commission will carry out spot inspections of 250 home care providers next year in a bid to stop ‘bad practice’ in the sector.

The ‘themed’ inspections will begin in April 2012 and will focus on the respect, care and welfare of people who receive care services in their own homes, as well as support given to staff. They will be carried out by CQC inspectors working in tandem with professional experts, such as nurses and senior carers, and ‘experts by experience’ (people who have a personal experience of using home care services). The inspections will run in addition to the CQC’s existing programme.

CQC will produce a national report of its findings on quality and safety and also create a report for each individual provider.

Cynthia Bower, CQC’s chief executive said: ‘Home care is one of the most difficult areas of care to monitor. Often the people who use the services find themselves in vulnerable circumstances and the operation of home care is not as transparent as care in hospitals and other sectors because the interactions happen behind closed doors in people’s homes. That is why we want to focus on this sector of social care in this way.’

She explained that the inspections were particularly important given the ‘challenges’ to care provision created by issues such as council budget cuts, which could ‘increase risks of unsafe care’.

Care services minister Paul Burstow added: ‘The CQC’s programme of unannounced inspections for home care providers is part of a key coalition government policy of shining a light on poor care and rooting out bad practice. The lessons are already being learned from similar inspections in hospitals and care homes.

‘I am determined that everyone should get the best possible care, whether they are in hospital, a care home or their own home.’

The inspection programme will be supported by an advisory group, with members drawn from a range of organisations including the Equality & Human Rights Commission, Age UK, the United Kingdom Homecare Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

The EHRC said it hoped the inspections would help to address some of the concerns raised in its own inquiry into home care.

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