Care home quality is lowest in region
CARE homes in Halton are the joint worst in the region, according to a BBC analysis, with 32% of Halton care homes rated as below standard by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
However, the consistency of the CQC rating system has been criticised.
A poor rating has left some providers unable to obtain insurance or bank funding, which can lead to closures.
The CQC uses four ratings: outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate. Inspectors rate homes on whether their services are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.
In Halton, currently eight of its 25 care homes rated by CQC are either inadequate or requiring improvement, making it the joint worst performing area along with Salford.
St Luke’s Care Home, ● Runcorn run by Community Integrated Care, was one of the homes marked as inadequate.
Richard Whitby, director of older people’s services at CIC, told the Weekly News: “We have worked closely with CQC and the Quality Assurance Team at Halton Borough Council to give the service focused support in all necessary areas.
“As part of this work, all care planning documentation has been updated, and a thorough review of staff training needs has taken place. All reporting issues have been resolved, and we are modernising the way in which we deliver medication.”
“Community Integrated Care is passionately committed to improving conditions for those supported by, and working within, the social care sector. We are proud to have recently launched our new five-year strategy which clearly sets out our ambitions to publicly advocate for change in these key areas by influencing Government at a national level and campaigning for more funding, support and recognition of the sector as a whole.”
Across England nearly 3,000 of the country’s 14,975 care homes are currently rated below standard. However, some providers have criticised the CQC inspectors, claiming some are not suitably qualified. They also say inspections can be ‘riddled with inaccuracies’ and felt it is unfair that there was no independent body to which they can appeal against a judgement.
Nadra Ahmed, chief executive of the National Care Association, told the BBC: “Regional variations in the numbers of struggling homes reflected inconsistencies in the CQC inspection regime and the greater difficulties some areas have in recruiting staff. What we know at the moment is that services in the North are more challenged than in the South.”
She also said she wished she could say there was consistency among inspectors but cannot, saying ‘this is a challenge for the CQC to recognise’.
A CQC spokesman said: “People can be reassured that most care homes in England are meeting the mum test – care we would be happy for anyone to receive, quality ratings data demonstrates people’s experiences of care can vary across the country meaning this is not the case for everyone. The variability continues to persist and is a real concern. Whenever we rate a service or take any form of enforcement action we will always clearly state the evidence on which these have been based and providers have the opportunity to challenge these as part of our factual accuracy policy.
St Luke’s Care Home