Care Home Regulation – not fit for its purpose


Interestingly, the Care Home Minister Norman Lamb announced that he has unveiled proposals on English care homes for consultation stating that the Regulation for the care home sector is not fit for its purpose.

Care Home Fees

For those whose loved ones are being cared for in care homes or nursing homes they will probably agree with the Minster's statement and believe that any review is well overdue.

The Minister has said that there was a "significant lack of corporate accountability for the quality of care".

The review comes following the collapse of Southern Cross last year, one of the country’s biggest care home providers for elderly residents. Southern Cross went into liquidation turning the lives of many elderly residents and their families upside down for they owned more than 750 care homes across the UK.

The Minister was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 and in his interview he also commented on the recent case of abuse uncovered at the care home in Bristol adding "I think there is a significant lack of corporate accountability for the quality of care that is provided in care homes and in private hospitals and that is something that I am determined to address... and I just have a sense that the whole regulatory model for the care home sector is not actually fit for purpose".

The fees charged by care homes and nursing homes is sometimes disproportionate when compared to the quality of care they provide and certainly the charges do not represent value for money in some cases. There has been instances of neglect and lack of care for the elderly. Care home fees range from £500 a week to £1400 a week meaning the average care home fee per annum is around £30,000 if not more.

Regulatory reform should not be restricted simply to addressing corporate accountability for how the finances are utilised, but it should also encompass whether the charges for the service they provide offers value for money. Most importantly, the care home providers look after the most vulnerable group of people namely elderly patients who may suffer from mental and physical health issues and are unable to voice their concerns about the lack of care they may be receiving.

The Care Quality Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the care home sector also need to be more accountable to ensure that care homes and nursing homes do have the ability to provide high quality care and they are run on a sound financial basis.

In Scotland the Scottish Government has changed its regulations so that care homes face at least one unannounced inspection each year. In England for example there are some care homes who have never been inspected and some care homes receive an inspection at 3 yearly intervals, which is simply not acceptable.

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