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  • Sarah Whitebloom

CQC forced 800+ private care homes to close: Oxford research

The overwhelming majority of care homes which have been forced to close by the Care Quality Commission have been for-profit homes, according to research today [18 March] from the University of Oxford.

Over a 12 year period, to autumn 2023, the research shows, there were 816 forced (or involuntary) closures of care homes - just 12 of which involved not-for-profit homes.

Most of those forced to close had received repeated Inadequate ratings from the care regulator - but not all.

Some 10 per cent of closures were homes that had been given a 'Good' rating by the CQC. This highlights concerns over the current regulatory system, where inspectors only visit for a few hours and give a rating based on a 'snapshot' of life in the home.

As of today, there are 200 Inadequate care homes in England and Wales - some 80 of which have been sitting on the worst rating for more than six months. Some have been rated as unsafe for years. According to the CQC register, one home in Dorset received an Inadequate rating in 2019 and has not been visited since.

Forced closures are the last resort - and only happen in cases where the CQC believes it essential to undertake 'urgent enforcement due to extreme and acute risk of harm'.

More than half of the homes forced to close catered for people living with dementia. The academics also warned, there are increasing numbers of forced closures, where people are removed and placed elsewhere because of risk.

At the current rate of forced closures, some 63 are being ordered to shut each year. But many remain operating as home to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

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