Nurses fear for homes standards

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GOVERNMENT plans to cut red tape and remove regulations from private businesses could threaten the quality of care in nursing homes and residential care homes, nurses and social workers fear, writes Rosie Waterhouse.

The Royal College of Nursing and the British Association of Social Workers are calling for all-party support for an amendment to the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill, which is being debated by a House of Lords committee tomorrow.

The amendment, being tabled by Lord Tordoff, a Liberal Democrat, would ensure that Virginia Bottomley, the Secretary of State for Health, would have to consult on any proposed deregulation of the Registered Homes Act where there is likely to be any impact on standards of care.

The amendment follows a critical report last week by the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, which said the number of serious complaints against nurses in private nursing homes had doubled in the past four years.

In a statement the RCN and BASW said: 'In the light of the recent critical report by the UKCC it is more important than ever to ensure that there are adequate mechanisms for ensuring the maintenance of standards and quality.'