Care Quality Commission hit by ‘no confidence’ petition

Workers in the residential care home sector have signed a petition of no confidence in the industry regulator – the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Delegates at the National Care Homes Congress said they had no confidence the CQC could effectively “regulate” health and social care.

The issue was discussed after BBC Panorama alleged vulnerable adults at a unit near Bristol were being abused.

The CQC said no regulator “could stop all unacceptable behaviour”.

The Panorama programme showed secret filming of patients at Winterbourne View, a residential hospital, being pinned down, slapped and taunted.

The unit has since closed and the firm which runs it, Castlebeck, has apologised.

Staff representing the care home industry at the congress in Birmingham on 22 June included care home owners and managers, nurses and senior care assistants.

‘Tick box exercise’

Delegates said that “robust and effective regulation” of the industry was essential but they had “concluded that they have no confidence that the CQC is capable of delivering an effective system of regulation for health and social care”.

Congress delegate Andrew Larpent, who runs Somerset Care, which provides 31 residential homes in the West Country, said he had no confidence in the CQC.

He said: “The CQC have set themselves up as a compliance service and not as a quality service.

“Under the previous inspectorate, we had a real sense that we were all working together to try to continually to improve services.

“Now, we seem to just be doing a tick box exercise and it’s not serving the public well.”

Dr Richard Hawkins, editor of the Caring Times magazine, which helped to organise the congress, said the petition was “significant”.

‘Stop abuse’

He said: “It’s the first time anything like this has happened. I hope it’s going to send a very powerful message to the commission and to the government.”

A spokesman for the CQC said: “No regulator can guarantee to stop all unacceptable behaviour – it is the job of the providers and staff to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place.

“No system of regulation, however thorough, can stop abuse. But you can build systems to identify risks of harm, based on information from a range of sources, and react to these risks to try to reduce the likelihood of poor care.

“This is what CQC is trying to do. When our systems work, people are protected. The most powerful tool to stop abuse is to ensure that people working in care – whether directors, managers, health professionals or care staff – do not tolerate it.”

Update: This story has been amended to make clear that the congress did not pass a vote of no confidence in the CQC but organised a petition of no confidence.