'Outstanding' council run care home achieves highest possible rating

Andrea Sutcliffe chief inspector of social care “It appears to be increasingly difficult for some providers to deliver the safe high quality and compassionate care people deserve”

Andrea Sutcliffe chief inspector of social care “It appears to be increasingly difficult for some providers to deliver the safe high quality and compassionate care people deserve”

A care home in north Cumbria has joined an elite group of facilities across the country in being rated "outstanding" by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

One in three nursing homes, responsible for the care of people with the highest level of need, are failing on safety.

Shocking findings by care regulators, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), revealed that 23 per cent of care homes, nursing homes and home care services require safety improvements, with a further two per cent found to be inadequate.

Though the majority of services were found to be providing Good or Outstanding care, the regulator has repeated warnings that there is considerable variation in care quality, as too many people were not receiving adequate care.

The CQC has now completed inspections for all 24,000 services in the sector, which provide care to one million vulnerable people.

While almost four out of five services were assessed as being either "good" or "outstanding" overall, nearly a fifth - 19% - were rated "requires improvement", while 2% - 343 services - were rated "inadequate".

"They have an important role in shaping a positive culture in a service - including creating a supportive environment for staff, listening to their concerns and communicating well with them, other professionals, and people who use services and their families and carers", it said. Issues uncovered by inspectors include inadequate systems for managing safe staffing levels, which can result in people not getting their prescribed medicines, call bells not being answered and home visits being rushed or missed.

Ms Sutcliffe said: "It appears to be increasingly hard for some providers to deliver the safe, high quality and compassionate care people deserve and have every right to expect".

Referring to the fact that only two per cent of adult social care services are Outstanding, the CQC states: "While we make no apology for setting the bar high, this is considerably lower than we originally expected". St Anne's Community Service in Leeds was fined £190,000 in June last year following the death of a 62-year-old man who broke his neck in a fall from a shower chair at a nursing home.

The report found 89% of both small nursing and small residential homes rated as good or outstanding, compared with just 65% of large nursing homes and 72% of large residential homes.

This pattern may be partly because many smaller homes are for people with a learning disability, and these services tend to perform well, the report says. Too often we hear the consequences of inadequate care - our investigation past year revealed people with dementia left in soiled sheets, or becoming ill after eating out of date food, and that only a third of homecare workers have received dementia training, leaving families fearing for their loved ones.

"The risk of adult social care approaching its tipping point is still real and we will focus on re-doubling our mutual efforts to ensure that the quality of care doesn't deteriorate and that older and disabled people and their families get the reliable, personal care they need and deserve".

Social care is one of the major challenges facing the Government, which has promised a consultation in the Autumn.

Peter Thornton, who holds the council's brief on for health and care services, said: "This is really great news and much deserved".

"We have found that services that care for smaller numbers of people often found it easier to demonstrate a good level of responsiveness - for example, by being able to offer activities that are based on people's individual interests", added the report. "The report also makes a compelling case for why considerably more investment in social care is required".

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