Health and social care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has released a further 19 inspection reports on learning disability residential services, and found only 4 compliant with both essential standards it investigated.
The reports are the fifth batch to be released, as part of the CQC's programme of 150 unannounced inspections of learning disability hospitals and care homes. These 19 inspections covered facilities that provide a range of services including assessment and treatment, rehabilitation and longer-term care. Seven facilities were NHS-run, 6 by independent providers and 6 adult social care locations. Inspections were focused on two outcomes relating to the Government's essential standards of quality and safety: the care and welfare of people who use services, and safeguarding people who use services from abuse.
Overall, in relation to care and welfare, CQC inspectors found minor concerns with 9 facilities, moderate concerns with four and a major concern with one. Only 5 were compliant. In relation to safeguarding, 10 locations were compliant, but inspectors had minor concerns at four, moderate concerns at 3 and major concerns at 2. Only 4 facilities were compliant with both outcomes. Major concerns were identified against both outcomes at Hennel Lane in Preston. Inspectors reported that care planning was inadequate and not person centred and that staff did not properly report or record safeguarding concerns. This meant that they had no processes in place to correctly evaluate why individual instances of restraint had happened and how they could be avoided in the future.
Elsewhere, inspectors had a major concern about safeguarding and a moderate concern about the welfare of residents at the Newsam Centre in Leeds. Inspectors found that safeguarding procedures were not followed in a robust enough way and allegations of abuse were not treated with the urgency they merited, meaning that patients were not always adequately protected. In both cases, the providers outlined to the CQC what they will do to make the necessary improvements, and inspectors will make another unannounced inspection to ensure these changes have been made.
Learning disability charities Mencap and The Challenging Behaviour Foundation issued a joint response, again calling for a move away from institutional care and towards local services. "These latest CQC reports again reveal serious concerns about the care people with a learning disability are receiving in specialist assessment units and it is extremely worrying that 15 of the latest 19 units inspected by the CQC are not fully compliant with essential quality and safety standards. "These post-Winterbourne reviews are providing a strong justification for moving away from institutional care where people are hidden away out of sight and mind, towards developing local services. It is crucial the Government ensures these changes are made to reduce the likelihood of the abuses seen at Winterbourne View happening again."
The CQC will publish a national report based on the findings of all 150 reports later in the year. To view the individual inspection reports, click here