Safety Lessons Must Be Learned From CQC Warning Figures

Victims, Families And Communities Want Action On Poor Standards, Lawyer Warns

20.08.2013

By Rob Dixon

Legal experts have revealed their concerns over worrying new figures showing an increase in warnings issued to care homes in relation to standards, as well as their hopes that lessons can be learned from inspections which ensure safety comes first.

According to figures from the Care Quality Commission, published by the Daily Telegraph, the number of official warnings issued has increased by 43 per cent in the past 12 months to more than 900.

The notices are used when care is flagged which does not meet legal requirements, with examples of failings identified including residents at one home being asked to shout for help and another warned about soil mattresses and filthy commodes.

Irwin Mitchell’s Medical Law and Patient Rights team represents the families of vulnerable people who have suffered serious illness or injury as a result of neglect or safety failings at care homes.

Jonathan Peacock, a Partner at the firm’s Bristol office and expert in the area, notably represented families whose loved ones were affected by failings at the notorious Maypole Nursing Homes in Birmingham.

Commenting on the new figures, he said: “These findings are of course extremely worrying and care home residents, their loved ones and the wider communities where these homes are located will be desperate for reassurances that standards at all of the sites which have received warnings have improved.

“Once this is complete, attention must then turn to how standards were allowed to fall and what can be done to ensure such issues are not repeated.

“However, while the increase in notices is high, it is perhaps positive to see that these issues are being identified during investigations – as ultimately this means that the problems can be dealt and hopefully resolved before more people are affected.

“It would be more worrying if such failings were not being picked up, as this in turn would mean the reported number of notices being issued would be lower and unacceptable standards of care may have been allowed to continue.”

Jonathan added: “The key priority in each of these cases is that the circumstances of the warnings are carefully considered, with homes and the relevant care providers working to ensure that lessons are learned from the mistakes of the past.

“Through many of our cases we have seen the huge emotional toll that failings can have on victims and their families. People have a right to, and ultimately deserve, a safe standard of care.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Elder Abuse Claims