More than 300 residential care homes for younger disabled adults have not been inspected by the care watchdog for more than two years, according to official figures obtained by Disability News Service (DNS).
The figures, released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in response to a freedom of information request, also show that 87 care homes in England have not had an inspection since 2014.
And 10 homes have not had an inspection for between three and four years.
In all, the CQC figures show that, on 1 June 2017, there were 311 care homes for adults under 65 (out of a total of 5,358 homes across England) that had not had an inspection by the regulator in the previous two years.
Despite DNS alerting CQC to the figures on Monday, the commission failed to respond to requests for a comment by noon today (Thursday).
The commission’s press office claimed today that its “team of analysts” were not clear how the figures were compiled, even though the press office has been told that they were simply taken from a spreadsheet – provided by CQC – which showed the “latest inspection review date” of all “active” care homes for “younger adults” that were described by CQC as offering “residential social care”.
Another CQC press officer claimed yesterday that she had been unable to respond to the DNS request because she was dealing instead with a story from The Times newspaper.
Instead of commenting on the figures, CQC issued the following statement: “We have inspected and rated every adult social care service that was registered on or before October 2014, many more than once.
“In particular, we have prioritised our re-inspections on where we have the greatest concerns about quality and safety.
“Our strategy signals how we intend to do this further, as part of our wider plans for the regulation of this sector in England.
“This is so that we can ensure that people receive safe, high-quality and compassionate care and so that we can encourage improvement.”
It is just the latest in a series of concerns to be raised about the commission’s inspection regime.
In May, documents obtained by DNS following a freedom of information request showed that disabled people helping to deliver a vital part of CQC’s inspection programme – contracted out to the former government-owned disability employment business Remploy – had been refused support workers, while one had been bullied into resigning.
Last year, an NHS whistleblower found that the watchdog was failing to order urgent inspections of care homes, despite coroners warning that action must be taken to prevent further deaths of the disabled and older people who lived there.
And last summer, figures obtained through another DNS freedom of information request found that the number of inspections of adult social care services that had been cancelled or rescheduled every month had risen by more than 360 per cent in just one year.