Care and nursing home regulation and monitoring due for a shake up (or shake down?)

March 6th, 2016 by Jonathan Auburn

The regulation and monitoring of care and nursing homes is set for change. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) project “Cutting Red Tape” has just published its report on regulatory reform in the adult social care residential and nursing home sectors: “Review of adult social care – residential and nursing home sector”, BIS, March 2016. At the same time the DoH has published its response, “Response to the Review of Adult Social Care Residential and Nursing Home Sector”, DoH, February 2016. The DoH and DCLG accept the findings of the Cutting Red Tape review, and commit to working to implement those findings.

The focus for BIS is the regulatory burden imposed on care and nursing homes by the different public bodies who each oversee these homes, and impose differing standards for compliance and monitoring. This includes the CQC, local authorities and CCGs (who both have their own contract monitoring regimes), as well as bodies such as NHS England.

A key issue of concern is the duplication of inspections and information requests. The findings in the Cutting Red Tape review report, and the Response from the DoH, revolve around three main areas.

First, that there should be a statement setting out the roles of the different public bodies currently involved in the regulation and monitoring of care and nursing homes: who should be doing what. The aim will be to reduce duplication of regulation and monitoring / inspection.

Second, a framework for information requests and data monitoring, so that requests are simplified, and duplication and the burden on care / nursing homes are reduced. There will probably be some unifying of the data monitoring requirements and pre-inspection information requirements of the CQC, local authorities and CCGs.

Further, the report notes that there are reviews of procurement, monitoring and information processes currently being undertaken by four separate bodies (ADASS is leading a review into commissioning, the LGA is investigating a national procurement strategy, NHS England a secure email project, and the CQC an information sharing pilot). There will be pressure on these reviews to coordinate and reduce overlap.

Third, the creation of a “primary authority” system for local authorities, aimed at standardising the relationship between care homes and different councils, providing uniform requirements for data recording and collection, and increasing clarity and consistency of what is required from care homes.

It is interesting that this push to reduce the burden of regulation of care and nursing homes comes just as Sir Stephen Bubb publishes his final report into Winterbourne View, providing a timely reminder that if this sector has had a regulatory problem in the recent past, the problem may have been of monitoring which probed too little rather than too much.

Jonathan Auburn
twitter: @jonauburn11kbw

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