Beth Britton - Campaigner, consultant, writer and blogger on ageing, health, social care and dementia

 

Launch of Special Measures regime for Adult Social Care

Published: 16 July 2014

Through my involvement with CQC's Adult Social Care Co-Production Group I was invited by Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, and the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, to participate in today's launch of the Special Measures regime for Adult Social Care. My role was to talk about my personal experiences of my father's care.

This is the statement I wrote for the press briefing (The personal details within this statement have already been extensively written about on my D4Dementia blog):

I would like to spend a couple of minutes framing this morning’s announcement around my personal experiences, to illustrate to anyone who hasn’t experienced the poor care of a loved one just how devastating it can be.

My father lived with vascular dementia for 19 years, the last 9 years of which he spent in 3 different care homes. Whilst the vast majority of his care was excellent, in the last 6 months of his life, a new provider took over his care home and almost overnight the culture changed. New management came in, the staff who had cared for my father for many years left, and the home was being run largely on agency staff. The care dramatically declined.

As a family we raised concerns first with the manager, then with directors from the provider company, and finally with CQC. And we weren’t the only family who was worried about a loved one in that care home. Eventually CQC inspected around 3 months after our initial concerns, but it took a further 2 months for a report to be published.

During those months of increasing concern, my father rapidly deteriorated and became incredibly frail. He developed pressure sores. Eventually, one night he aspirated on his own vomit 5 times. He was rushed to hospital, and was made the subject of safeguarding. The doctors who treated my dad said that aspirating on your own vomit is a bit like pouring acid into your lungs. He never recovered from the pneumonia caused by the aspiration, and died a month later.

His hospital care was excellent. And the end-of-life care he received in another care home in the last 2 weeks of his life was exemplary.
And that’s the point. Most care is excellent. Most care workers are dedicated, and often undervalued, professionals. There is, however, a minority of care that falls below what is expected. The sort of ‘care’ that gives social care a bad name.

People who use social care services and their families need to know that if a provider fails in their duty of care that there is a system in place to halt that neglect and change the culture, and do so in a timely, but also a sensitive, way. I hope that the new special measures regime will achieve that.

I welcome the opportunity to work with Andrea, her team and colleagues from across the care sector in the co-production of this new regime outlined by the Secretary of State. In my view, people receiving social care services, and their families, deserve nothing less than the very best care the UK can offer them.

Thank you.

I gave interviews to the BBC, ITV, Sky News, Channel 4 and Channel 5. This is ITV's report of the announcement: http://www.itv.com/news/update/2014-07-16/new-pledge-to-crack-down-on-failing-care-homes/. Channel 4's coverage is here: http://www.channel4.com/news/care-homes-special-measures-poor-performing-nhs-trusts-video.

 
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