A report provided an overview of research into the quality of health and social care services in England, making recommendations. This was the first report in the five year QualityWatch programme.
Source: Is the Quality of Care in England Getting Better? QualityWatch Annual Statement 2013 – summary of findings, QualityWatch (Nuffield Trust/Health Foundation)
A report provided an update on local areas' progress against commitments in the Winterbourne View concordat.
Source: Winterbourne View Joint Improvement Programme: Stocktake of progress report, Local Government Association
The government announced that the inspectorate for health and social care in England (the Care Quality Commission) would be given greater independence. The government would relinquish a range of powers to intervene in its operational decisions. The inspectorate would no longer government approval to carry out an investigation into a hospital or care home. The new posts of Chief Inspector of Hospitals, General Practice, and Adult Social Care would be enshrined in law. Changes would be introduced via the Care Bill.
Source: Press release 1 October 2013, Department of Health
Links: DH press release
The inspectorate for healthcare and social care announced planned changes to the monitoring, inspection, and regulation of care homes and other social care services in England, to be implemented by March 2016. Inspections of adult social care services would look at whether the service was: safe, effective, caring, responsive to people's needs, and well led. The plans included the use of more expert inspectors, as well as specialist advisors and people who had experience of receiving social care services. As part of a forthcoming consultation on the proposals, the inspectorate intended to discuss the risks and benefits of mystery shoppers and hidden cameras to monitor care.
Source: A Fresh Start for the Regulation and Inspection of Adult Social Care: Working together to change how we inspect and regulate adult social care services, Care Quality Commission
A serious case review was published by the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board into the case of Keanu Williams, who died in 2011 at the age of 2 as a result of parental abuse.
Source: Birgitta Lundberg, Serious Case Review: In respect of the death of Keanu Williams, Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board
The inspectorate for healthcare and social care published the results of an initial consultation on proposals for changes to the inspection of social care services in England.
Source: A New Start: Responses to our consultation on changes to the way CQC regulates, inspects and monitors care services, Care Quality Commission
The government published the results of a review of the regulation of adult care homes. The review examined businesses that provided accommodation for people who required nursing or personal care and were therefore required to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The report outlined a range of concerns that had been raised about the existing inspection regime. Key concerns included: duplication in inspections; perceived lack of liaison between the CQC and commissioners; concerns about enforcement; a lack of benchmarking in the sector; and whether there was a role for external accreditation.
Source: Focus on Enforcement Regulatory Reviews: Review of the Adult Care Homes Sector, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
The inspectorate for education and children's services published the outcome of a consultation on the inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, looked-after children, and care leavers.
Source: Responses to Ofsted's Consultation on the Inspection of Services for Children in Need of Help and Protection, Children Looked after and Care Leavers, Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills
A report examined how to make better national use of the information collected through the child death review processes.
Source: Jennifer Kurinczuk and Marian Knight, Child Death Reviews: Improving the use of evidence, Department for Education
The Welsh Government published a White Paper containing proposals to strengthen the regulation and inspection of social care. It set out proposed reforms of the care and support legislative framework, including a new National Institute of Care and Support, and a shift to measuring against outcomes rather than minimum standards.
Source: The Future of Regulation and Inspection of Care and Support in Wales, Welsh Government
An article examined the lessons to be learned from the abuse of patients with learning disabilities over a number of years at Winterbourne View private hospital. It said that the lessons had permeated only to some areas and professionals, not necessarily to where they were most needed. Further efforts were required to prevent another, similar scandal happening elsewhere.
Source: Joe Plomin, 'The abuse of vulnerable adults at Winterbourne View Hospital: the lessons to be learned', Journal of Adult Protection, Volume 15 Number 4
Notes: The article was written by one of the journalists responsible for exposing the abuse.
An article examined the principal findings of a serious case review that had been commissioned after the exposure of the serious abuse of patients with learning disabilities at Winterbourne View Hospital. It said that the government had responded 'promptly and encouragingly' to the circumstances of the patients. The serious case review had contributed to growing scepticism of 'out of sight, out of mind' placements.
Source: Margaret Flynn and Vic Citarella, 'Winterbourne View Hospital: a glimpse of the legacy', Journal of Adult Protection, Volume 15 Number 4
An article (by a former Minister of State for Care Services) examined how corporate bodies could be held criminally responsible for abuse and neglect that took place in hospitals and care homes, if by their actions they facilitated this abuse or failed to take action to prevent it. It explored existing domestic and international law and sought to find precedents and guidance that would allow the government to create a new criminal sanction for 'corporate neglect'. There was a legislative and regulatory gap in the ability to hold corporate bodies to account for neglect or abuse that occurs in their institutions, which needed to be urgently addressed.
Source: Paul Burstow MP, 'Care and corporate neglect: the case for action', Journal of Adult Protection, Volume 15 Number 4
The inspectorate for healthcare and social care began consultation on plans for improving the inspection process, including plans to inspect all care services, National Health Service trusts and foundation trusts, and independent acute hospitals; and develop a ratings system to help people choose between services and to encourage services to make improvements.
Source: A New Start: Consultation on changes to the way CQC regulates, inspects and monitors care, Care Quality Commission
Links: Consultation document | CQC press release | ARMC press release | BMA press release | NHS Confederation press release | UKHCA press release | Guardian report | Public Finance report | Telegraph report
A report said that very few advanced countries systematically measured whether long-term care for elderly people was safe, effective, and met the needs of care recipients. To meet future demand for higher-quality care and choice by the person receiving care, governments should ensure that the necessary information on long-term care quality was available to the public, allowing users to compare the quality of different care providers.
Source: A Good Life in Old Age? Monitoring and improving quality in long-term care, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
An article examined the lessons to be learned from the abuse of patients with learning disabilities at Winterbourne View private hospital. It said that the lessons had permeated only to some areas and professionals and not necessarily to where they were most needed. Further efforts were required to prevent another, similar, scandal happening elsewhere.
Source: Joe Plomin, 'The abuse of vulnerable adults at Winterbourne View: the lessons to be learned', Journal of Adult Protection, Volume 15 Number 4
The coalition government published its response to consultation on the oversight of private providers in adult social care, and set out the action that it intended to take to protect people from the negative impacts of business failures. 'Difficult to replace' providers would be required to submit key performance data, undertake regular dialogue with the regulator, and satisfy the regulator that they had a strategy in place to manage key business risks.
Source: Oversight in Adult Social Care: The Consultation Response, Department of Health
Notes: Consultation document (December 2012)
A report by a committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly said that the 'vast majority' of services provided by health and social care trusts were of a very high quality. But the number of serious adverse incidents, often involving the death of a patient or service user, was 'shocking' and suggested that the standards of care being delivered required continued scrutiny and improvement.
Source: Report on the Safety of Services Provided by Health and Social Care Trusts, Thirteenth Report (Session 2012-13), Northern Ireland Assembly Public Accounts Committee, TSO
The report of an independent inquiry said that England's care system was still failing children. A fresh approach was needed to ensure that local authorities provided good care, based on need rather than legal status. When children moved placements, important relationships were often broken and lost. The system was not flexible enough, basing decisions about support for children and their carers on legal status rather than specific need. More attention needed to be given to support for children returning home from care or those living with kin carers or in foster homes. Whatever their legal status, all care options needed to be treated as equally valid and given the same political, financial, and cultural priority by local and central government.
Source: Making Not Breaking: Building relationships for our most vulnerable children, The Care Inquiry
Links: Report | Inquiry press release | ADCS press release | BAAF press release | Childrens Commissioner press release | Coram press release | CSW press release | LGA press release | WCT press release | Community Care report
The report was published of a government-commissioned review into whether ratings of provider performance should be used in health and social care in England. It said that a 'clear gap' had arisen in terms of the provision of comprehensive and trusted information on care quality. The costs and benefits of implementing a ratings system might be favourable for providers of social care and for family doctors, given the potential for choice and the nature of care provided in those settings. The benefits were less certain for hospitals, given the way that ratings were designed and used: a number of conditions would have to be fulfilled for any potential benefits of hospital ratings to be fully realized.
Source: Jennifer Dixon, Martin Bardsley, Emma Churchill, Alisha Davies, William Bains, Mark Dayan, and Irene Papanicolas, Rating Providers for Quality: A Policy Worth Pursuing?, Nuffield Trust
A report by a committee of MPs said that there were continuing shortcomings in the performance of the health and social care regulator for England.
Source: 2012 Accountability Hearing with the Care Quality Commission, Seventh Report (Session 201213), HC 592, House of Commons Health Select Committee, TSO
Links: Report | Additional written evidence | CQC press release | Labour Party press release | RCN press release | NHS Confederation press release | BBC report | Daily Mail report | Guardian report | Public Finance report
A report said that a fresh system was needed to rate the performance of care homes. It emphasized the value of a ratings-based system for social care quality, and said that the Care Quality Commission (the social care regulator) was the body best placed to take on such a scheme.
Source: David Walden, Information Is Power: Why ratings of care services need to return, Voluntary Organisations Disability Group/National Care Forum