National Care Standards Commission chairperson Anne Parker has
sought to reassure care home owners that though her organisation
will be enforcing the incoming standards, they were acutely aware
they must not “sink the ship” by overzealousness,
writes Janet Snell.
Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference in Manchester she
pledged that the commission would, where possible, try and work
with providers to rectify problem areas rather than act in a
She added that she was conscious there were high expectations of
what could be achieved. “Somebody said to me ‘oh, you’re going to
be the people who will stop all those awful things happening’.”
The commission’s key role was to “build capacity, manage
catastrophe and achieve credibility” Parker explained, adding: “We
want to earn the respect and even the grudging admiration of the
people whose services we will be inspecting and regulating.”
But the task in hand could only be achieved in partnership.
Her message was echoed by Chris Hume, a former director of
social services and now programme manager with the Department of
Health’s social care group responsible for establishing the
He said the job to be done should not be underestimated: “It’s a
huge task for the department and in many ways a scary one, setting
out clear expectations in terms of standards.”
He explained that a key function of the new commission would be
collecting data on areas such as falls, pressure sores and deaths
so it could respond to warning signs and concentrate efforts on
those areas that most needed it.
“The aim is not to cause chaos in the care sector. The aim is to
provide minimum standards below which people cannot operate.”
Hume said new standards for foster care, domiciliary care and
adoption agencies were expected by late summer.
Standards on children’s homes and care homes for adults were
currently out for consultation.
In response to suggestions by some members of the audience that
too much was being asked of them he replied: “If the sector comes
back with a resounding ‘no this cannot be achieved’ then the
department will clearly have to take that into account.”