On Monday we had a meeting with Colin Penning – Public Voice & Partnerships – National Stakeholder Lead for the CQC
Colin asked for a roundup of the issues which we gave at length.
Our main issue was that the CEO of the CQC continues to publicly warn care providers that blanket visiting bans won’t be accepted. Many are offering window or screen visits and claiming they aren’t imposing a blanket ban. Diane pointed out that the CQC need to change the wording of their warnings to “blanket visiting policies won’t be accepted and neither will blanket bans”
Collin said that it’s very difficult to trigger an inspection when people are only prepared to complain anonymously. We explained the many reasons why people are afraid to complain that include fear of eviction and reprisals. We also cited cases where our members have named the care home etc but no action has been taken.
He said they needed evidence of those flouting the rules to which we responded that we have sent many examples from our members. He is unable to discuss the outcomes of individual cases we reported due to data protection issues but assured us that the CQC have acted on some of those already.
We then tackled the issue of the largest care groups who are flouting the guidance publicly in the media and as evidenced in letters sent to relatives. Many of them are openly refusing to conduct individual risk assessments, applying blanket visiting policies with arbitrary time restrictions and denying residents the support of an ECG without any explanation or evidence as to why. We stressed that the letters sent generically from the Head Offices of these companies to all relatives is all the evidence they need that they are imposing blanket visiting policies counter to the Government Guidelines.
CQC have a Corporate Provider Team who liaise with the CEOs of the large care companies with regular meetings. We were incredulous to learn that this has not been raised with them. We suggested that members of this team request the visiting policies from these companies and them start investigating why they are not producing individual assessments and individualised visiting plans. He said he would speak to his colleagues in this team.
We relayed several shocking case studies to Colin. We also reiterated that the public perception of the CQC is being damaged by their failure to act on visits. We asked what the outcomes were of our previous meetings with them. He said that one of the outcomes was Kate Terroni’s statement about blanket bans – which we feel didn’t address the real issues.
We stressed that the CQC are reactive but people need them to be a lot more proactive. Among the things they’re considering doing is sending a more explicit email letter to care providers around visiting restrictions and non-compliance with the guidelines.
Once again, we reported that the feedback form isn’t proving to be effective and asked for a dedicated email address. Colin will discuss this with colleagues.
He finished by saying that CQC can only get care homes to work within the guidance! We agreed that is what we want also – but the fact is that too many are not doing it and there are no consequences. We ended by asking Colin if he could use some SMART objectives to start measuring the outcomes of our meetings as we feel little progress has been made.
Diane Mayhew – Rights for Residents.