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‘A regulator which gets it wrong is worse than no regulator at all’

By guest blogger JOHN BURTON

On 1 November the cross-party parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) published its second report on The detention of young people with learning disabilities and/or autism. There is a chapter on the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) failure to identify, prevent, or even to censure the appalling treatment of people in so-called Assessment and Treatment Units (ATUs) and other similar settings.

The title of this blog is a quote from this report. Here are two more quotes: “It is hard to see the 2016 inspection report on Whorlton Hall as anything other than a cover up.” “ . . . it essential that the CQC changes the way it conducts inspections and does so urgently.”

The report is damning. I can find little mention of it in the national or social care media. Two more reports are due and may be equally devastating in their examination and criticisms.

On Wednesday, 20 November, the CQC had its monthly board meeting. The chair made it clear that this report would not be discussed. The December meeting of the board has been cancelled, so it won’t be discussed then either. By the time the January meeting comes around, one of the other reports may be available but this JCHR report may have been forgotten.

“ . . . regulating services effectively normalises them – it institutionalises the institution as an acceptable offer.” So says Simon Duffy of The Centre for Welfare Reform, quoted as part of the report.

This thought provokes the uncomfortable insight that CQC owes its continued existence to the collusion of those who are inspected. The facts that CQC managed not to see the abuse at Whorlton Hall after it had failed at Winterbourne View in 2011, and probably hundreds of other hospitals and care homes, that it has equally failed to see the good care in hundreds of the other homes it has condemned, and that we have continued to go along with CQC’s worse-than-useless existence, is evidence of our own investment in keeping it going.

Perhaps such a thought is too hard to bear. And think of all the hangers-on who depend on CQC’s existence. Indeed, the whole care “industry” is dependent on having a useless regulator.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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