Nearly half of care services fail deemed substandard

Winterbourne View residential hospital in Bristol was closed following a BBC investigation. Credit: PA

A damning report by the care services watchdog has revealed that if you have a learning difficulty, you have a 50% chance of receiving substandard care.Of the 145 hospitals and care homes inspected by Care Quality Commission (CQC), nearly half did not meet required standards in terms of care, welfare and whether people were safe from abuse.

The unannounced inspections carried out by the CQC have uncovered a depressing and worrying fact: that the level of care for some of those amongst us who need the most support and help to enjoy life is too often substandard.

Yet again fixing it, as another report published today by the Department of Health shows, is going to be far from simple.

Many providers are involved in providing this care and therefore many people have to be consulted to put it right. All too often that means delay, obfuscation, and administration get in the way of improvement.

Today’s CQC report in particular looks at the length of stay some people with learning disabilities have to endure in treatment centre - places set up as temporary assessment centres but in which one resident ended up staying for 17 years.

CQC chairman Dame Jo Williams said there were "lessons to be learned" by care providers about the use of restraint and an "urgent need" to reduce the use of restraint.

The report also recommended that staff should be trained to use more appropriate ways of restraining patients.

The inspections focused on examining the general care and welfare of people who used the services as well as whether people were safe from abuse.

It also threw up some statistic about the independent sector care providers:

  • Independent services were twice as likely (33% compliant) to fail to meet these standards as NHS providers (68% compliant).

Mencap Chief Executive Mark Goldring said that that had to be looked at carefully, and that whilst today’s two reports did not reveal widespread systematic abuse, it did suggest there was a risk of it in some of the sub-standard homes.

Sadly, he told ITV News that Mencap was still receiving reports of abuse which it is investigating.

I’ve heard it said that a country should be judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable.

If so we are not doing so well.