The Relatives & Residents Association (R&RA) has accused the CQC of “retreating to the side-lines” during the COVID-19 pandemic and has expressed continued disappointment with the role the Care Quality Commission has taken during the pandemic. In a letter to the regulator, R&RA’s chair outlines how older people needing care have been badly let down by the CQC.
As a human rights crisis unfolded in care, with isolation infringing people’s rights to liberty, family life and wellbeing, the CQC retreated to the side-lines the letter states, adding that their lack of action has left people in care at risk. Their (CQC) lack of voice and leadership has left the sector vulnerable, and failure to adapt to the changing world has left care users and their families bereft.
The letter calls on the CQC to take urgent action to remedy these failings and earn the trust and respect of those they exists to represent.
The letter is accompanied by a summary of insights and evidence from the R&RA Helpline of the barriers older people and their families continue to face around contact and the impact of isolation.
The letter also states that the CQC should be:
- Restarting routine inspections of care services: prioritising settings with a history of serious breaches of the Regulations, those without a manager, with a high staff turnover, and those not inspected for three or more years.
- Proactively monitoring compliance with Government guidance on visiting (in and out of care settings): insisting that care homes make their visiting policy explicit and report current practice to you as the regulator. The information should be publically available and assessed in CQC’s inspections and reports.
- Representing the rights of all individuals using care services: particularly for access to healthcare – CQC should be calling for and encouraging reestablishment of face-to-face contact with health practitioners, social workers and other professionals.
- Using its leadership voice in speaking up and raising awareness of the care sector’s needs: particularly for adequate sick pay for care workers.
The CQC said it will be releasing a full response to the R&RA in the coming days.