Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

CQC finds more failings at learning disability residential facilities

Care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published 20 more inspection reports on learning disability residential facilities – and found only 4 fully complied with essential standards.

The reports are the latest to be published as the CQC continues its programme of 150 unannounced inspections of learning disability hospitals and care homes. They covered locations that provide a range of services including assessment and treatment, rehabilitation and longer-term care.

Thirteen locations were NHS-run and the remaining 7 by independent providers. The inspections 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. Of the 20 locations inspected, 4 locations were compliant with both outcomes. Two locations had a major concern and a moderate concern, and 3 locations had a moderate concern for both outcomes. Specifically for the care and welfare outcome, 5 locations were compliant, 8 had minor concerns and 7 had moderate concerns. Meanwhile, in terms of safeguarding, 7 locations were compliant, 7 had minor concerns, 4 had moderate concerns, and 2 had major concerns.

As a result of its inspection, the CQC served Walkern Lodge in Stevenage, which is run by Cambrian Learning Disabilities Ltd, with a warning notice. The inspection team reported that systems to prevent and identify abuse were inadequate and that patients did not always have their concerns listened to and appropriately reported to the local safeguarding team. However, the CQC has since made a further inspection and is satisfied that the provider has made the necessary improvements.

Inspectors also reported concerns with safeguarding at Bloomfield Court and 5, 6 Ivy Mews – both in south London and operated by CuroCare. They found that staff did not understand their roles in safeguarding vulnerable patients and the provider had not made an appropriate referral to the local authority safeguarding team when a patient sustained an injury. The provider has told the CQC how it plans to ensure compliance in the future.

Learning disability charities have reacted with dismay to the latest inspection reports. Mencap and The Challenging Behaviour Foundation issued a joint response:  “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 16 of the latest 20 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.”

A national report into the findings of all 150 inspections will be published in the spring. For a full list of the 20 inspection reports click here: http://www.cqc.org.uk/LDReports4

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