Care commission ‘failing’ service providers say

Service providers north of the border have accused the body now
responsible for regulating care services in Scotland of being in a
state of chaos and failing to reduce inconsistencies,
writes Nicola Barry.

Jim Proctor, vice-chairperson of care homes representative body
Scottish Care, said the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of
Care, which replaced a number of different systems of inspection
throughout Scotland in April 2002, had been introduced to produce
consistency across Scotland.

“Instead there are standards which have the status of guidelines
and there is still inconsistency,” he said.

Proctor said there was also a problem with staffing care homes
because no-one was clear what the correct staff-to-resident ratio
was and it continued to vary “from place to place”.

He added that standards were being pursued without any concern
for cost. “There is no dialogue about what fees people should be
paying. Also, the local authorities are the paymasters and since
they still run their own homes, there is a clear conflict of

Allan Keir, chairperson of an association of care homes in
Angus, added that the commission was now run by former social
workers who knew very little about inspecting homes.

“Many of the original inspectors took severance pay and left,”
he said. “The new staff have a lot more work to do, but very little
experience of inspections.

“The commission works well when homes are of a good standard.
But people are concerned that poor homes are not receiving the
attention they did under local authorities. And that means
vulnerable people are more at risk.”

A spokesperson for the SCRC rejected the criticisms, pointing
out that it had already set up a number of consistency forums. “It
will take time to establish consistency of practice across the
country,” they added.

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