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One in four social care services failing on safety, care regulator warns

One in three nursing homes are failing on safety, the report warned.

One in four social care services are failing on safety, the care regulator has said.

Analysis by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) shows that 23% of care homes, nursing homes and home care services require improvement on safety while a further 2% are inadequate.

Almost 20,000 people are cared for in the 343 services rated as inadequate.

Issues seen by inspectors include people being washed and dressed and then put back to bed to make it easier for staff, residents not getting enough to eat and drink, and people not getting help to go to the toilet in time.

When it comes to nursing homes, which care for people with the highest level of need, one in three are failing on safety.

Inspectors also raised concerns about organisations slipping down the ratings, with a quarter of those last rated as good deteriorating since their last inspection.

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One in three care homes are failing on safety, the CQC warned (John Stillwell/PA)

Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, said some of the issues raised by inspectors “have a profound impact on people’s lives”.

She added: “From a safety perspective, it may be: ‘Are there enough staff available to provide the care people need in their own homes?’

“If there is not, it may mean people have missed calls, people may be late to be supported to go to the toilet, to have the food and medication they need. These are things you do not want to be happening to your loved one or mum.

“If you’re in a residential or nursing home, it may be that there are not enough checks and balances in place to ensure people are getting the right medication and the right support to eat and to drink.”

She said failing services do not always treat people with dignity and respect.

“So, services where we have gone in first thing in the morning and we’ve found people who have been got out of bed, washed, dressed and put back to bed because it’s easier for the night staff to do it than the day staff,” she said.

This was “completely and utterly unacceptable” in the modern age, she added.

A failure to carry out proper checks on staff and poor staff training had also been highlighted by inspectors.

More than 21,000 adult social care services in England have been given a rating by the CQC in five areas: safety, leadership, and whether a service is caring, effective and responsive to people’s needs.

Across these five indicators, 19% of services require improvement, 2% are inadequate, 77% are good and 2% are outstanding.

Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price said: “It is completely unacceptable that standards in some settings are below those rightly expected by care users and their families.

“That’s why we have introduced tougher inspections of care services, provided an additional £2 billion to the sector, and later this year we will be consulting on the future of social care in this country to put it on a stable footing for the future.”

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