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

Continuing concerns over learning disability residential services

Dan Parton cutThe Care Quality Commission (CQC) has continued it’s drip-feed of inspection reports into learning disability residential services, with another 12 released last week. Disappointingly, only 4 facilities were found to be fully compliant with the required essential standards of quality and safety.

This follows on from the 10 reports released earlier in the month, where 4 facilities were found to be compliant in the 2 outcomes the CQC focused on: the care and welfare of people who use services, and safeguarding people who use services from abuse. While it should be noted that no major concerns were found at any of the 12 facilities in today’s reports, it is nevertheless worrying that only a third were found to be fully compliant.

As I’ve said before, these standards are supposed to be a basic requirement for care homes, rather than a benchmark to strive for. The CQC will publish reports into all 150 residential homes and hospitals, and so far only 27 reports have been released. But of those 27 only a third have been found to be fully compliant with the 2 outcomes the CQC has focused on. While it would be premature to offer conclusions on the state of services based on these reports – roughly a fifth of the facilities being inspected – it hardly fills you with confidence for the rest of them.

Admittedly, most of the concerns noted by the CQC are ‘minor’ or ‘moderate’, which seems to indicate that there are not fundamental problems at the facilities, so standards can be brought up to what is required without too much trouble, but they were still allowed to get like that in the first place. At least the standards in those facilities should improve as a result of these inspections, so that is good news for the residents.

In conclusion, the national report, which will take into account all 150 inspections, will make for very interesting reading when it is released sometime in the spring. Only then will proper conclusions be drawn about the state of hospital and care home care for people with learning disabilities. That report needs to analyse the reasons why standards are below what is required in so many services – and what can be done to address it.

But that report also needs to lead to Government action on the future of such services and what the policy will be. The status quo cannot continue, otherwise another scandal like Winterbourne View could happen.

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