Older people badly let down by CQC, says R&RA

May 26, 2021

The Relatives and Residents’ Association (R&RA) has expressed ‘disappointment and despair’ today, in relation to the role the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has taken during the pandemic.

In a letter exchange with the CQC, the R&RA argued that older people needing care have been badly let down by the regulator. The letter said that ‘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.

Today, the R&RA said the response from the CQC is ‘unacceptable abdication of responsibility’ and that the letter fails to acknowledge the devastating impact that the past 14 months has had on older people in care and the charity say the letter ignores R&RA’s main call for CQC to take a proactive role in monitoring compliance with visiting guidance.  In fact, the R&RA said the letter ‘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the point entirely about CQC’s vital role in upholding minimum legal standards and rights which seem to have been superseded by the vagaries of non-statutory guidance’.

In response to R&RA’s letter, Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive of The Care Quality Commission said, ‘I cannot agree with the R&RA that there has been lack of action by us, which in turn has left people who use adult social care services at risk. We have continued to monitor and inspect adult social care services during the pandemic. Between 1st April 2020 and 31st March 2021 this included: reviewing 70% of adult social care locations, inspecting 6,367 adult social care locations, and approving 2,113 beds in 144 services proposed as designated care settings.

Ian Trenholm added, ‘As one of our long-standing partners in our ‘Tell us about your care’ programme, we are grateful for any evidence R&RA send to us of people’s concerns about adult social care but as we have highlighted in our meetings, it is vital that the name of the service and/or provider about which there are concerns is shared with us so that the information can inform our regulatory work. We are working positively with other voluntary organisations in this area.

‘If R&RA has evidence that people are unsafe or at risk of abuse, I think it is your duty to share this information with us and other relevant bodies. I would therefore ask you, as one of or, long-standing partners to share the detail in relation to the examples in your annex with us so that we can take action.’

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.’

Visit the Relatives and Residents’ Association website to read the CQC letter response in full.

In the May issue of CMM, Helen Wildbore, Director of the Relatives and Residents Association, says we must end isolation in care and avoid closed cultures becoming a lasting legacy of the pandemic.

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