Carers UK is claiming a lobbying victory after the government brought forward proposals to ensure the new Care Quality Commission (CQC) takes account of users and carers’ views.
In an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, which will be debated by peers on Monday (16 June), the government proposed that the health and social care regulator should publish a statement describing how it will engage with users and carers and take account of their views.
A separate amendment, tabled by Department of Health minister Lord Darzi, states that the commission’s main objective should be to protect and promote the health, safety and welfare of people who use health and social care.
The absence of a clear statement of purpose for the commission and references to users and carers in the bill has been criticised by peers during a debate in April, following lobbying by campaign groups including Carers UK. The charity had attacked the bill for not mentioning carers once, in a briefing for peers.
In a statement, Carers UK said: “The original bill did not mention carers at all. We argued that carers must be consisdered a key group to be involved and consulted alongside patients and service users.”
The Picker Institute, which researchers patients’ experiences of healthcare, said it had “campaigned throughout the bill’s passage for a clear statement of what the commission is for and whose interests it will serve”.
However, head of policy Don Redding: “These amendments fall short of binding duties for which we and many peers and MPs have argued. We recognise that the government does not want to put prescriptive burdens on the CQC.”
The amendments follow the government’s decision to allow independent care home residents whose care is arranged by councils or the NHS redress under the Human Rights Act 1998.