Older people’s charity condemns u-turn on care home standards

Older people’s charity Help the Aged has expressed its
disappointment with the government’s u-turn over the national
minimum standards on space in care homes for older people,
writes Katie Leason.

Under the amended draft standards,
care homes which existed before 1 April this year will be exempt
from meeting certain environmental standards on space, baths,
doorways, and single rooms.

These homes will have to set out in
their prospectus and users’ guide the details of the
individual accommodation and communal space, and the National Care
Standards Commission will say in its inspection reports how far
homes comply with standards.

New build homes and first time
registrations will still have to meet the environmental

Help the Aged believes that while
the standards are being blamed for the closure of many homes the
real issue behind the closures is “less about room sizes and more
to do with inadequate government funding for residential care”.

Policy officer Gail Elkington said
that the charity will be responding in detail in time for the end
of the consultation process on 8 November, and will be speaking to
ministers and civil servants.

Sheila Scott, chief executive of the
National Care Homes Association, said she was “surprised” at the
amended standards, but welcomed the flexible approach.

“One thing in the back of my mind is
in regard to all the homes that have closed in the last three years
because they were not going to meet the standards. What the
government is doing is now going to allow us to concentrate on
quality issues.”

Care homes for younger adults that
existed before 1 April 2002 are also to be exempt from certain
environmental standards under proposed amendments to the standards
for care homes for younger adults.

“Environmental standards
consultation can be found at



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