Care regulator’s teething trouble on user involvement


The new health and adult social care regulator has pledged that service-users will have a bigger say in improving the quality of the services they use than ever before.
Launching Voices Into Action, a charter on involving people in its work the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it would ensure service-providers act on the views of care home residents, hospital patients and those receiving care at home.
Frances Hasler, the CQC’s head of involvement and a former chief executive of the National Centre for Independent Living, told the launch event: “The value of putting people first and championing their rights is woven into everything we do.”
Involvement will include: regular studies to discover people’s experiences of services; involving service-users in CQC inspections; wide consultations, including seeking the views of people who are difficult to reach; and reporting annually on how people have been involved by services and the difference it has made.
But one leading disabled activist at the launch event confessed to “cynicism” after hearing the CQC’s promises.
Ju Gosling, co-chair of Regard, the national organisation of disabled lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered (LGBT) people, described how a staff member failed to consider her access requirements when she tried to register for a CQC event.
And Gosling, a wheelchair-user, said copies of the charter at the launch event had been placed in an inaccessible position.
Her criticism drew an apology from Cynthia Bower, the chief executive, who said such failures were “unforgivable” and that the CQC would “learn to do this much better”.
Julie Newman, acting chair of the UK’s Disabled People’s Council, said disabled people were “very used to consultation…participation and discussion” and welcomed it, but added: “What I want to see is the teeth, the bullet in the gun: enforcement.
“What I would really like to do is see the bodies of my enemies on the carpet.”
Bower promised that the CQ had “teeth” and “much greater enforcement powers” than previous regulators.
She said it would be able to close services, launch prosecutions, and fine service-providers, and pledged “naming and shaming” and publicising of good practice.
After the event, Gosling said it was clear the CQC still had lessons to learn. She said: “Disabled and elderly LGBT people particularly face multiple and very serious problems with social care and regulation and we are all depending on [the CQC],” and she added: “I am not impressed so far.”

Share this post: