R&RA calls on CQC to update guidance

May 23, 2022

The Relatives and Residents Association (R&RA) has written to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to express profound concern about their guidance on managing infection in care homes.

The campaigning organisation said the guidance is ‘unacceptable’ and it encourages care providers to restrict the rights of older people.

The letter is the latest in an exchange with the CQC during the pandemic, expressing disappointment with the lack of action by the regulator which R&RA feel has left older people at risk and led to continued suffering. The letter notes that ‘rather than acting to help prevent the harmful impact of isolation in care homes, CQC’s own guidance is making the situation worse.’

R&RA has repeatedly called on the CQC to take a proactive role in monitoring compliance with the Government guidance on visiting to end the harmful impact of isolation. The organisation hears daily from family members and carers on its helpline. The call includes requesting care homes to make their visiting policy publicly available and to report current practice to people, so this can be assessed against the regulations in CQC’s inspections and reports. The letter to the CQC has criticised the delay in COVID-19 infection control guidance being updated and R&RA has said the disparity in the Government guidance compared to the CQC guidance is ‘shocking’ and notes that it's a vital tool for providers to use in order to manage their policy.

For example, R&RA said encouraging the use of booking systems to limit the number of people visiting a home is in direct contradiction with Government guidance which states that there should not normally be any restrictions on visiting. The campaigning group added It is also inevitable that booking systems designed to limit access undermine individual residents’ needs and the right to family life as they work on a first-come-first-served basis rather than to individual care plans.

Helen Wildbore, director of the Relatives & Residents Association, said, ‘Our helpline continues to hear from families struggling to get meaningful contact with loved ones in care. It is little wonder they still face an uphill battle when the CQC’s own guidance is encouraging restrictions on fundamental rights. It is astonishing and completely unacceptable for the regulator, which exists to protect people from harm, to be themselves promoting such poor care.’

Visit the R&RA website to read the letter in full and to access the most up to state guidance from the CQC.

In other news, the House of Lords Adult Social Care Committee will hold two evidence sessions next week to explore the assumptions and preconceptions about those who rely on care, and different methods of raising the profile of adult social care.


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