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  • Sarah Whitebloom

Four in ten nursing homes failed inspections in last month. Can 'care' ever really be trusted?

Sorry, it has been a long time, more than 18 months, since OLM last posted a blog. And, sad to say, not much has changed.

Care homes, charged with looking after the most vulnerable members of society, are still failing inspections at an alarming rate. But, even more worrying, the regulator's data show you really cannot rely on inspection reports. What was rated 'Good' one week, can actually be found 'Inadequate' the next.

The numbers are bleak. Four in every ten nursing homes inspected in the last month were rated either Inadequate or Requires Improvement by the Care Quality Commission's inspectors.

One in five 'residential' homes failed inspections. So much for the regulator driving up standards.

The state of the market now, compared with 2021 - at the height of the pandemic - is still bleak. The CQC and the care industry have, so far, largely escaped censure over the numbers of Covid deaths in care home. And Matt Hancock seems to be sucking up most of the blame. But they surely cannot escape entirely? Their own figures tell a sorry tale, as we have previously noted.

Now, even though a fancy new website has made it more difficult to interrogate the numbers, the CQC's data reveal the same old problems of failing homes.

But, as we have previously noted, the report system itself is shown to be seriously flawed. It presents a snap shot of life in a home and, since these ratings can and do change rapidly, it clearly does not represent a reliable indication of the quality of care

One report, published in the last week, finds a West Midland's home to be Inadequate. Its last report, from just a year ago, found it to be 'Good'. The latest report describes a 'disorganised and chaotic' environment - with a key issue emerging, yet again, as a lack of staff.

The financial imperative of private sector care is always going to be to reduce costs, increase fees and maximise profits. Meanwhile, the inspection system is simply not adequate. You might be lucky enough to find good care, but do not rely entirely on the CQC's reports to find one.

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