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CQC – built-in failure

October 1, 2018

By guest blogger JOHN BURTON

While David Behan tells the world how to be a successful health and social care regulator, Ian Trenholm, his successor at CQC, has to cope with the ticking time-bombs of the organisation’s fundamental flaws. At the CQC’s July board meeting, Behan should have owned up to the failure to pass-on 96 safeguarding alerts, but he left that for Trenholm to defuse at his first board appearance.

The longer term faults cannot be defused but are getting ever nearer to detonation. A top-down, centralised, and rigidly bureaucratic organisation is unfit to regulate and inspect care homes. CQC has an understaffed, dissatisfied, workforce with a high turnover of inspectors. They have difficulty recruiting. They are overspent. They cannot respond quickly to concerns and complaints. They can’t keep up with their schedule and still fail to write reports on time. Every missed deadline adds to the workload and multiplies the pressure. Too many homes that were rated good or outstanding, are now being downgraded. Even those homes that required improvement or were inadequate don’t show sufficient improvement. Most either go out of business or remain poor.

The regulator took 2,329 enforcement actions in the last year. Imagine the scale of work involved. CQC take an age to register a home in the first place, and once registered they take a further age to inspect it. Posh new homes that were registered a year ago have not yet been inspected, and I’ve no confidence in CQC’s ability to judge the quality of the care when they do visit.

CQC simply tackles inspection from the wrong end. They are experts in shutting the stable door but more and more frequently they do it after the horse has bolted. If you want to see how the horse is doing, you need to be in the stable and know the horse. It’s no good visiting after a year and reporting that the poor old horse is a gonna. It’s too late. Now CQC can only get worse.

“Failure demand” is built in to the system. For the rest of its miserable existence, CQC can show only how well they are managing their ever-rising levels of failure. Prepare for demolition, and please design it properly next time.

  • 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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