Social care: The continuing disgrace of our care homes

The Care Quality Commission’s record is a disgrace and reform will be difficult

Share

The coroner’s verdict on the deaths of 19 people at a care home in West Sussex is frightening. Many of us expect either to go into a care home ourselves towards the end of our lives or to be responsible for relatives who do so. Neglect contributed to five of the deaths, the coroner found, and the home was “completely mismanaged and understaffed”.

It is a terrible case, but two points that cut against the common gloomy assumptions ought to be noted. The first is that most care homes are well run and their residents are as happy as they can be, given that they are no longer able to look after themselves. The other is that the profit motive is not necessarily the enemy. Southern Cross, the company that used to run Orchid View, and which went bust after a risky gamble on property values and creative financial engineering, was not a success. But poor management and abusive relationships between carers and cared-for exist in the public sector too, as recent NHS scandals have shown.

So the problem is one of quality control, of supervision, inspection, and acting on information from concerned relatives or whistle-blowing employees. It is a deep problem, above all, of the quality and firepower of the Care Quality Commission, which has not had the resources or the aggressive culture to ensure that standards in adult social care or the NHS are maintained. The CQC’s record has been quite simply a disgrace. After its highly visible recent failings in the NHS, an inquiry has been ordered and the familiar reassurances issued: that the regulator is being turned round, everything will be better in future, and lessons have been learned.

Reform of the CQC is difficult, not least because its remit crosses departmental boundaries. But political responsibility is clear: it lies with Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, and Norman Lamb, the Minister of State for Care and Support. Their sustained political attention is required, and we should hold them to account for it.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Advisor - HR Officer - Employment Law - East London - £25000

£25000 per annum + 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: *** HR Advisor - HR Office...

ENGLISH TEACHER, FULL TIME SUPPLY ROLE, DOVER SCHOOL

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: TEACHER OF ENGLISH NEEDED for lo...

Nursery assistants required in Cambridgeshire

£10000 - £15000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified and unquali...

PE TEACHER, FULL TIME SUPPLY VACANCY, FOLKESTONE SCHOOL

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: The Job We are currently recruit...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers

Ed Rex
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week