The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is taking far too long to process the registration of newly appointed care home managers, claims the Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA), which represents around 1,000 homes across the United Kingdom.
Commenting today on the scale of the problem, RNHA chief executive officer Frank Ursell said that from the moment the CQC is notified of a manager’s appointment, typically it takes about eight weeks before the individual becomes officially registered by the regulator in accordance with the relevant regulations.
“On average, the CQC receives 200 applications a week for care home manager registrations,” he said. “So at any moment in time some 1,600 care home managers are in post but not actually being registered in the formal sense.
“In practice, they are doing all the vital tasks that managers are supposed to do including, above all, making sure that their residents are safe and well cared for and that staff are adequately supported to deliver good care. But there is no piece of paper saying they are registered with the CQC. That it takes the CQC virtually so long to sort out this administrative requirement is as perplexing as it is frustrating. Surely, in this day and age, it could be done much faster.”
He added: “One of the big frustrations is the risk of inflammatory newspaper headlines suggesting that a large number of care homes are operating without a manager in charge. Whilst, inevitably, departures of managers occur as a natural part of individuals moving on with their careers or retiring – and leaving a gap for the care home concerned to fill as soon as possible – the fact is that up to about 1,600 homes have managers in post who are not counted as registered. The problem therefore looks much bigger than it actually is.
“Possibly the best and most feasible solution would be for the CQC to get its own act together by improving the efficiency of its own internal systems and processes.
“Whilst everyone appreciates that the regulator must be satisfied that a new manager is a fit and proper person to be in charge of a care home, there is no fundamental reason why the process has to take a full eight weeks. It should also be borne in mind that, in their recruitment processes, care homes themselves are extremely mindful of the need to carry out their own checks before offering someone the job.”
He concluded: “We would certainly support CQC in wishing to tackle the problem of some care homes not having a manager in post for a significantly long time. That is not good for the care homes concerned. But, for the reason I have explained, it does not take away the fact that the CQC itself is partly responsible for the apparently high number of homes without a registered manager.”