One in four social care services failing on safety, care regulator warns

Photo: Bill Smith

Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant

One in four social care services are failing on safety, the care regulator has said.

Analysis by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) shows that 23pc of care homes, nursing homes and home care services require improvement on safety while a further 2pc are inadequate.

Almost 20,000 people are cared for in the 343 services rated as inadequate.

Issues seen by inspectors include people being washed and dressed and then put back to bed to make it easier for staff, residents not getting enough to eat and drink, and people not getting help to go to the toilet in time.

When it comes to nursing homes, which care for people with the highest level of need, one in three are failing on safety.

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Inspectors also raised concerns about organisations slipping down the ratings, with a quarter of those last rated as good deteriorating since their last inspection.

Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, said some of the issues raised by inspectors 'have a profound impact on people's lives'.

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MORE: Failing and 'inadequate' Lodge Care Home near Watton has new owner who has spent £150,000 on refurbishment worksShe added: 'From a safety perspective, it may be: 'Are there enough staff available to provide the care people need in their own homes?'

'If there is not, it may mean people have missed calls, people may be late to be supported to go to the toilet, to have the food and medication they need.

'These are things you do not want to be happening to your loved one or mum.

'If you're in a residential or nursing home, it may be that there are not enough checks and balances in place to ensure people are getting the right medication and the right support to eat and to drink.'

She said failing services do not always treat people with dignity and respect.

'So, services where we have gone in first thing in the morning and we've found people who have been got out of bed, washed, dressed and put back to bed because it's easier for the night staff to do it than the day staff,' she said.

This was 'completely and utterly unacceptable' in the modern age, she added.

Ms Sutcliffe said other issues included a reliance upon agency staff who do not necessarily know the people they were caring for and were therefore not able to provide the services needed.

MORE: Residents left in soiled beds, feeling unsafe and without adequate personal care at The Laurels in AttleboroughA failure to carry out proper checks on staff and poor staff training had also been highlighted by inspectors.

More than 21,000 adult social care services in England have been given a rating by the CQC in five areas: safety, leadership, and whether a service is caring, effective and responsive to people's needs.

Across these five indicators, 19pc of services require improvement, 2pc are inadequate, 77pc are good and 2pc are outstanding.

While most services are good and should be praised, Ms Sutcliffe said 'nursing homes continue to be the worry area', with only 67pc rated as good.

She said that 'many of these homes are struggling to retain and recruit good quality nursing staff and this has an impact on their ability to provide good services'.

Just over 1,800 services rated as good previously have now been re-inspected.

Of these, a quarter have deteriorated from good, including 5pc that are now rated as inadequate.

'What it says to me is that there is a struggle for services to continue to maintain the high quality care that we know is vital and important for people,' Ms Sutcliffe said.

'That, I think, shows the fragility in the sector and that good quality care is potentially precarious and we need to make sure that we're focusing on it and that we're not complacent about those good quality ratings.'

But she said four out of five services rated previously as inadequate had improved at the point of re-inspection.

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