Care Quality Commission to Clarify Inspection Role
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has begun distributing information for its inspectors in an attempt to clarify its responsibility for Health and Safety in care homes.
The move comes after an investigation by Environmental Health News (EHN) that uncovered a disagreement between regulators following a prosecution by Wakefield Council. Care Homes Ltd., owners of Stockindale Residential Care Home, were fined £3,300 after EHOs found broken and unsafe window restrictors at the home in August 2014. The home also had urine-soaked carpets, water dripping through the ceiling and water temperatures of over 60 degrees, prompting EHO Helen Atkinson to describe it as “One of the worst I have seen.”
After the court case a CQC spokesperson told EHN: “Should a similar situation arise now we would still refer to the local authority due to there being a general breach of national health and safety guidance.” The statement contradicts a change in procedure which from 1 April saw CQC given the responsibility for Health and Safety covering care home residents with local authorities, and the HSE keeping their role covering employees. Since the change, EHPs have questioned CQC inspectors’ ability to carry out thorough health and safety inspections, something head of regional engagement Nick Kerswell is aware of. “We are currently working closely with HSE in particular to help us develop those capabilities through training and through a network of buddies who provide mentor support to our inspectors,” he told EHN. “We are focusing first on our regional managers and a team of specialised inspectors so that they can advise, cascade training and share their knowledge with their colleagues. The HSE buddies, and our specialised inspectors, are there to provide practical support while we continue to train and develop all of our inspectors.”
The HSE has highlighted falls from insecure windows in care homes as a major concern.