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CQC report finds the key to turning around failing care homes

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The Care Quality Commission (‘CQC’) has recently published a new report, ‘driving improvement’, which considers the experiences of care providers who have been rated as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’. The CQC has considered nine case studies in which the experiences of those who have been able to transform the care they deliver to explain how that journey of improvement can happen.

CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, Andrea Sutcliffe, hopes that “people running or working in care services rated as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ can use these case studies as practical guidance to improve for the benefit of the people they support and care for.” The report can therefore be used as a useful starting point for care providers to improve their service.

The recruitment and retention of capable, valued and supported staff emerged as a key theme in the case studies. The importance of a good leader was unsurprisingly found to be essential, with a new manager being introduced to deliver improvements in most of the homes. The stability of leadership was also shown to be of value with having sufficient numbers of staff to deliver safe care and deliver services also identified as crucial.

Another key finding was in respect of having robust recruitment procedures in place to ensure staff are suitably qualified and experienced. Improved induction policies to ensure staff are better prepared for their role is also an important factor. At poor performing providers, it was identified that there was a lack of staff training and staff appraisals, with improvements in these areas paying dividends for the homes.

Andrea Sutcliffe summarised the following further findings in the report: “key lessons we have seen from the case studies include understanding and accepting that problems exist; creating a clear vision to improve and putting that into action; appointing strong leaders who can establish an open and transparent culture where improvement can truly thrive; and focusing on developing a workforce that is valued, well trained and supported to deliver safe, effective person-centred care.”

It is, however, recognised in the report that improvement is not by any means easy, particularly where there is pressure on resources. Andrea Sutcliffe also encourages providers to work closely with commissioners, funders and national bodies and the health and care system as a whole, who all have a responsibility to work together to help create the environment which delivers good care.

At Stephensons, we have specialist experience of representing and advising care providers in relation to compliance; enforcement action; and appeals before their professional regulators, such as the CQC. In particular, we have successfully represented numerous care providers who have been rated as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’, assisting them to avoid cancellation of their registration. If you require any advice and assistance, please contact our specialist CQC lawyers now on 01616 966 229.