In the wake of Winterbourne View, CQC has played a crucial leadership role in redrawing expectations on what constitutes a good care environment. Our experience of the Adult Social Care arm of CQC is that it is a vital, valuable regulator of care provision. During austerity, for example, how many massive institutional settings would have been commissioned if CQC were not there to defend best practice?
Recent media reports suggest some parts of CQC have been unduly influenced by private sector hospital providers and we note resulting resignations from the CQC’s expert advisory group. We also note that CQC has ordered an independent public review of the regulation and inspection of Whorlton Hall; a warts-and-all report on this and any other cases will be vital to regain public trust.
It remains the case that over 2000 people are housed in Assessment and Treatment Units and Dimensions has recently supported a VODG proposal that CQC should consider length of stay in such places as part of its ratings.
It is difficult to gain a full view of a care and support environment through occasional inspections. No-one involved in care should be looking to CQC to do the whole job. Good providers will ensure many people – managers, families, friends, commissioners, internal quality reviewers including experts by experience and many others – are regularly welcomed into each person’s home. Each of these should know how to raise an issue or offer a compliment. No-one should be kept at arm’s length. Encouraging whistleblowing is similarly essential.
The provision of care can only ever be as good as how it is commissioned, and poor commissioning undoubtedly underpins some of the poor care reported in the media. Dimensions would like to see care commissioning regulated in the same way as care provision.