April 14, 2021

Coronavirus: At least one care home shut amid dozens of inspections over concerns raised during pandemic

July 08, 2020

Fifty care homes and services have received urgent inspections over concerns raised amid the coronavirus pandemic - leading to at least one being shut down.

These concerns - which are said to stem from a variety of issues - were in half of the cases reported directly to inspectors by staff, residents or relatives of those in the homes.

According to Kate Terroni, the chief inspector of adult social care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), work is underway to support providers where issues have been raised to "improve and provide safe care".

But in "rare circumstances" where assurances haven't been made, Ms Terroni told Sky News: "We take action."

Ms Terroni said this could include either preventing providers from admitting new people to homes and services, or in some cases closing a service down.

"It is important to say that 84% of social care providers are rated as good or outstanding," she later stressed.

"Through COVID-19, we have seen many care workers undertaking exceptional work."

Ms Terroni's comments came a Boris Johnson faces increasing pressure to apologise for his comments in which he appeared to suggest the conduct of some care homes during the coronavirus crisis was not up to scratch.

Speaking on Monday, the prime minister said "too many care homes didn't really follow the procedures in the way that they could have" - a comment the Independent Care Group deemed "a real slap in the face" to sector staff.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also raised the point across the dispatch box at PMQ's on Wednesday, demanding the prime minister apologise for the "huge offence" caused.

Mr Johnson responded by saying that the "last thing" he wanted was for care homes to think his comments were attributing blame, and added: "I take full responsibility for what has happened."

He added: "This government appreciates the incredible work they have done. We will invest in our care homes and we will reform the sector."

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The CQC is now encouraging the public to get in touch and share feedback of their experiences of social care to help better inform regulators.

"Feedback is more important than ever now," Mr Terroni told Sky News.

She added: "We want to hear from people whose experiences have been poor, that have been good, and for those people who have had a mixed experience.

"This feedback absolutely leads to action."

Independent organisation Healthwatch England is also joining forces with the CQC to call for people to share their experiences with the health and social care sector.

Healthwatch England chair Sir Robert Francis QC warned that services would not "bounce back overnight", with "problems to tackle" but also "opportunities to make care better".

He added: "You can help doctors, nurses and care workers find ways to improve support by sharing your experience."

People are asked to share their views online with the CQC and Healthwatch England.

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