Lawmakers urge CQC to ‘get a grip’ on care home visits
A parliamentary inquiry has called on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to implement robust processes on data collection and monitoring of care home visits by the end of May after it found many providers are not following government guidance.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights, appointed from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, said it was “astonished” that the CQC was unable to offer a clear picture of adherence to care home visitor guidance.
When giving evidence to the committee, the CQC said it did not collect quantitative data on how many visits have occurred across care homes.
“It is clear that public authorities do not have a clear enough view of the care home sector’s adherence to the guidance on visiting,” said the joint committee.
“It was astonishing to hear the CQC claim that they were not aware of any care home in England that was not following the guidance, despite clear evidence to the contrary from residents and their families. The CQC needs to get a grip on what is going on in the care home sector,” it added.
The guidance makes clear that providers should not impose blanket bans on visiting but conduct individualised risk assessments for each resident.
However, without statutory force, there is no legal recourse for residents to require their providers to implement the guidance.
The joint committee has prepared a draft statutory instrument to lay before parliament to secure legal protection for care home residents deprived of family visits.
In its Care homes: Visiting restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic report, the committee called on the government to make the existing requirements for individualised assessment for visits mandatory by laying its draft regulation as soon as possible.
“By not underpinning this guidance in law, care homes have not felt bound by it and important rights have therefore not been respected,” said Joint Committee on Human Rights chairwoman Harriet Harman (pictured).
“The CQC assurances that visits are being allowed properly now in all homes is wholly unconvincing. Because care homes see guidance about allowing visits as advisory rather than binding, the government must now bring forward regulations to give their guidance on visits legal force,” she added.