One in three care homes not inspected in past year

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said that 62 per cent of the 10,000 care homes in England had been visited by inspectors in the past 12 months.

It announced in April that it was planning to increase the number of inspections to once-a-year to tighten up standards.

Legally the CQC is required to inspect homes every two years while before that some which had been rated excellent were left for up to three years between inspections.

The admission followed a report on Exaro, a journalistic website, which highlighted concerns from Judy Downey, chairwoman of the campaign group the Relatives and Residents Association.

At a recent meeting with Jill Finney, deputy chief executive of the CQC, she was told that 62 per cent of homes had been inspected in the past year.

She is calling for a return to inspections every six months amid fears that abuse and neglect are on the rise.

“Infrequent inspections increase the risk of abuse and maltreatment,” she said.

“We know this from information we have received from scores of relatives.”

A spokesman for CQC pointed out that until less than two months ago there was no requirement to inspect homes every 12 months.

“CQC can also inspect a care home unannounced at any time if it believes that there is a risk of harm to residents,” he said.

Dan Poulter, who is also a Conservative MP and member of the Commons Health committee, said CQC should do more to encourage whistleblowing by staff with concerns about abuse or neglect.

"Some [staff] are prevented from voicing concerns because there are gagging clauses written into their employment contracts," he said.

Sourced from The Telegraph, 13th June 2012.