Tougher care home inspection regime announced

Scottish care homes will get at least one unannounced inspection a year, under plans to toughen up the system.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement came amid concerns that the current inspection regime was not up to scratch.

The move is in the wake of the deaths of two former residents at an Edinburgh care home and the collapse of Southern Cross care home provider.

Ms Sturgeon said proper resources would be put in place to fund the changes.

The health secretary told parliament the increased scrutiny aimed to ensure standards were kept up between inspections.

And inspectors will also be able to increase visits where they have concerns about particular homes.

The changes surround the deaths of two former elderly residents at Edinburgh’s Elsie Inglis care home, which prompted a police investigation and the closure of the facility.

Ms Sturgeon said care services in Scotland were of “a good quality” and the inspection regime “robust”, but added: “I have also been clear that there are aspects of the care regime in Scotland that are worth further consideration.

“That is why I have today announced a strengthening of the regulation and inspection regime and work to provide protection against the challenges presented by circumstances such as the failure of Southern Cross.”

The future of some 3,000 Southern Cross residents in Scotland was thrown into uncertainty, following the collapse of what was the UK’s largest care home operator.

Ms Sturgeon said the government was continuing to work with the company as well as landlords and council group Cosla, to ensure a proper transfer of Southern Cross homes to new operators.

All but too homes – Belhaven in Troon and Forthview in Leven – are in the process of transferring.

The minister also said the Social Care and Social Work Inspection Scotland body, known as Scswis, will now be known as the Care Inspectorate.