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New measures to crack down on abuse in care system

The government will today announce measures that aim to restore confidence in the care system after a series of scandals, including Winterbourne View and Mid-Staffs.

The measures include:

  • A compulsory 'fit and proper person' test for hospital and care home directors. If they fail the test, they will be removed from their post.
  • Addressing a loophole in the system where providers responsible for appalling failures in care can escape prosecution.
  • Allowing the Care Quality Commission to prosecute providers and their directors without giving prior notice.

Read: Care home directors to be 'held responsible' for abuses

Care home directors to be 'held responsible' for abuses

Directors in charge of care homes and hospitals will be held personally accountable for any abuse or neglect under new measures being unveiled today.

Winterbourne View residential hospital in Bristol Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb will say that the changes are designed to prevent a repeat of cases like Winterbourne View, where an undercover reporter revealed shocking abuse at a Bristol care home.

The new standards will require directors to take a "fit and proper" test to ensure they fit the role, and make it easier for the health watchdog to prosecute them where there are clear failures to meet basic standards of care.

The measures will apply to any care provider that is registered under the Care Quality Commission.

Read: Government Care home proposals published

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Fear and upset Southern Cross caused 'unacceptable'

Everyone who receives care and support wants to know they will be protected if the company in charge of their care goes bust.

The fear and upset that the Southern Cross collapse caused to care home residents and families was unacceptable.

This early warning system will bring reassurance to people in care and will allow action to be taken to ensure care continues if a provider fails.

– Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb

Read: Care homes face finance check

Owners of care homes face a 'tough series of checks'

The Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb has said that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will implement a "tough series of checks" on the largest care companies - including those that provide care in people's own homes.

The move will give "early warnings" if a company is in trouble, he said.

The Care Quality Commission CQC will implement a "tough series of checks". Credit: Angelika Warmuth/DPA/Press Association Images

The CQC will have power to require regular financial and relevant performance information from the 50 to 60 largest companies, and providers will also be forced to submit "sustainability plans".

And if a company is in trouble the CQC will have power to commission an independent business review to help the provider to return to financial stability.

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Care home owners to face financial checks

Care home owners will be forced to prove they are financially stable to avoid a second Southern Cross-style collapse, officials have said.

The Government is to implement a series of safeguards to prevent a repeat of the crisis.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb announced that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will be able to monitor the financial health of the largest providers.

The abrupt collapse of Southern Cross, Britain's biggest care homes operator, caused turmoil for more than 30,000 elderly and vulnerable people in 2011.

Research reveals worry over standard of care for elderly

People are concerned about the quality of care their elderly relatives receive, according to new research.

An analysis of a survey completed by 2,000 people has found that almost a quarter of participants (23%) rated homecare agencies as having sub-standard care, with care homes close behind at 15%.

The biggest concern for more than 84% of people choosing a care home was cost and quality of care or specialist care.

In contrast, the quality of care children receive was rated highly, despite being expensive, with 90% of those who wrote on the site about childcare leaving positive reviews.

But childcare providers were rated low for value for money and 8% of childcare reviews were negative specifically about the value of money.

Read: Concern over care for elderly relatives raised in survey

Concern over care for elderly relatives raised in survey

Nearly three-quarters of people are concerned about the care their elderly relatives receive, with many thinking it is substandard, new research has shown.

A study of reviews left on feedback website the Good Care Guide showed that many people viewed elderly care as needing improvement, with nearly three quarters (71%) of negative reviews on the site directed towards care provided by homecare agencies and care homes.

Three-quarters of people provided negative views of homecare agencies and care homes in a recent survey.
Three-quarters of people provided negative views of homecare agencies and care homes in a recent survey. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Good Care Guide, launched a year ago, works like TripAdvisor, allowing people the chance to find, rate and review care providers.

An analysis of more than 2,000 reviews - which grouped those with 0-3 stars as negative, and those with 4-5 as positive - revealed concerns for the care elderly people receive, with 71% of negative reviews directed towards homecare agencies and care homes.

Labour: 'Cuts driving care services to breaking point'

The collapse of Southern Cross caused huge concern for residents and their families and the Government is right to say action should be taken to try and prevent a similar crisis from happening again. Labour will consider the Government's proposals in detail to see if they are robust, workable and fit for the future.

In particular, we are concerned about whether the proposed requirements on care home providers to provide financial information are sufficiently strong, whether the Care Quality Commission or Monitor have the skills, experience or resources to properly scrutinise the financial structures of companies, or the power to take effective action to prevent financial failure if risks emerge.

However, the underlying challenge facing the Government is to tackle the crisis in social care funding. There have been financial pressures for many years, but the Government's cuts are now driving care services to breaking point.

– Shadow health minister Liz Kendall
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