The new regulator responsible for inspecting care homes and hospitals have had to close some homes due to their appalling treatment of the elderly, the Daily Mail reports.
In some, standards were so poor that nurses were found to be shouting at frail residents and forgetting to give them vital medicines, the story continues.
Others were forced to close because toilets and bathrooms were dirty and soiled, putting the health of the elderly at risk.
Inspections also found that some homes were employing foreign nurses working illegally without work permits or visas while others hired staff who had not been properly trained.
However, these extreem incidents highlighted in the media are a rarity as the vast majority of care homes passed inspections and are well run.
In the last 12 months just 73 care homes have closed following inspections by the Care Quality Commission watchdog.
And only 34 care homes were forcibly shut-down, while the remaining 39 closed voluntarily after the CQC gave them a rating of ‘poor’.
Over the same period 19 agencies (out of many hundreds) providing nursing care and help in peoples’ homes also closed.
From 1 October, the CQC is to be given new powers enabling it to fine care homes up to £50,000 if standards are deemed to be poor. Although it’s not quite clear how a £50,000 fine will help a failing home to improve?
All residential homes will be now be checked every two years, rather than every three years, and those which are failing will be re-assessed every few months.
Inspectors will also turn up to care homes unannounced if a family member or social worker contacts the CQC with a serious complaint. Unannouncd inspections have been carried out for many years under the previous regulator CSCI.
Just 34 Care Homes forced to close out of 24,000
Cynthia Bower, chief executive of the CQC said: ‘Standards across the sector are improving year-on-year, so people are getting better care than in the past. In order to keep this trend going, we need to address the worst services that just cannot or will not improve to an acceptable level.
‘This is where we’ve been focusing our attention over the past year as we get the sector ready for a new registration system that will be even tougher when care is not up to scratch.
‘Closing a care home is not a decision taken lightly. These are places where people live. We have to weigh up the potential impact on residents. In some cases, moving frail and elderly people may actually cause more harm than good.’
But the watchdog said that the closures only represented a very small proportion of the 24,000 care homes and agencies in the country, the majority of which were very good.
Immigration Matters Comment
The media tends to focus on the few headline grabbing sections of a report which actually shows that the QCQ is doing its job.
Most care home owners complain of too much regulation, form filling and red tape which prevents them from taking care of their residents.
One reason why many small and independent care homes are closing is because they are being squeezed out by a combination of increasing red tape and decreasing fees from local authorities.
The building and land is often worth more than the business and it is only the credit crunch led property slump which has prevented more homes being turned into expensive new flats.
The care industry is one of the most regulated sectors in the UK. It is extremely rare to find an owner knowing employing overseas care workers or nurses without valid Tier 2 work permits or Tier 4 student visas.
However, mistakes are being made with some employers issuing Tier 2 certificate work permits in error.
Employers are risking fines and the loss of their Tier 2 sponsorship by issuing ‘Certificates of Employment’ (formerly known as a work permit) to unqualified or unsuitable migrant workers, says Immigration Adviser Evelie Padadac.
Evelie of Bison UK, which specialises in work and study related visas, said:
“Employers issue the certificates directly to the candidate who then comes to us to arrange the further leave to remain or visa extension.
“However, when looking through the paperwork I frequently find that the candidate does not qualify under the Tier 2 rules.”
But CQC staff will check the files of any foreign worker, so make sure your paperwork is in order.See also:
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: