Sutcliffe attacks level of care highlighted by BBC Panorama

Andrea Sutcliffe, the Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector of Adult Social Care has said tonight’s BBC Panorama programme exposing ill treatment of elderly people raises important issues about the quality of care in care homes.

She said: “The care shown in the Panorama programme is unacceptable. My sympathy goes out to the people affected. I am angry that the good care we know is provided is undermined when people are failed in this way.

“The people who run care homes and who work in them are responsible for the care they provide each and every day. It is their responsibility to make sure the care they provide is safe, effective, caring and responsive to people’s needs.

“A key test for us is how well-led the home is. Do managers and owners support learning and innovation? Do they promote an open and fair culture? The answers to these questions will give us confidence that services can be improved or quality maintained. When we find problems we expect homes to act positively in response to put things right. A characteristic of poor leadership is that it spends more time and effort challenging us than in making improvements.

“We can and we do take action against homes that fail to improve or where we find serious concerns – since 2011, 158 homes have closed following action taken by CQC. But we have to remember these are people’s homes and closing a home should be a last resort. We want to see homes improve. Later this year we will be introducing ratings for care homes. The ratings will help to drive improvement and allow people to see clearly what we think.

“We have been concerned about The Old Deanery and its sister care home, St Mary’s Court, for some time. We have responded to concerns raised by staff. We have checked up on both homes regularly. We have told the provider to make improvements.

"We cannot always know what goes on behind closed doors but I am determined that our new approach will strengthen our ability to uncover poor care and take action when we need to.”

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