Care of patients is substandard in a SIXTH of all nursing homes

Care of vulnerable and frail patients is substandard in a SIXTH of all nursing homes, watchdog says

  • In West Midlands proportion of ‘inadequate’ care homes was nearly one in five 
  • Scathing report from Care Quality Commission said figures show deterioration 
  • More than 500 homes have been rated as needing to improve for years 

Nearly one in six care homes gave their frail and vulnerable residents substandard treatment last year, the regulator said yesterday.

And in one area, the proportion of care homes dismissed as ‘inadequate’ or needing to improve was almost one in five.

A scathing report from the Care Quality Commission said that these figures masked the deterioration in service that happened in some areas. 

The inspection organisation said that more than 500 homes with 23,000 older residents have been continuously rated as needing to improve for years.

Nearly one in six care homes gave their frail and vulnerable residents substandard treatment last year, the regulator said yesterday (stock picture)

More than 1,200, with 42,000 residents, once qualified as good but have slipped back into the bottom ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ levels of care home.

The findings were drawn up from inspections of care homes in the financial year that ended in March – the same month that lockdown began. 

The CQC said that lockdown, during which nearly 20,000 care home residents died with Covid-19 within three months, had led to overburdened homes turning residents away, loneliness and stress because of visiting bans, and severe financial problems for owners of homes.

CQC chief Ian Trenholm called for large-scale reforms. ‘Covid has pushed social care even closer to the edge, and we need to make sure that action takes place now,’ he said. 

During the pandemic ‘the sector, already fragile, faced significant challenges around timely access to PPE, testing and staffing – and support was less readily available than it was for the NHS’, he added.

A scathing report from the Care Quality Commission said that these figures masked the deterioration in service that happened in some areas (stock picture)

Across England, around four out of five of 23,546 adult care homes were rated as ‘good’ and one in 20 were ‘outstanding’ in the year to the end of March, the report said. There were 186 homes newly rated as outstanding. Of the rest, 15 per cent were said to require improvement and 1 per cent were ‘inadequate’.

The worst ratings were in the West Midlands, where 19 per cent were considered inadequate or to need improving.

The report said: ‘Some of the poorest services struggled to make any improvement.’

The CQC report was released as it took responsibility for choosing 500 homes that will be exclusively for patients who are discharged from hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 but are too sick or disabled to go home. 

The first are due to open at the end of the month.

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