Norman Lamb MP writes: I am determined everyone should be able to get good quality care

James Terry Court, Croydon - License Some rights reserved by sjr60If you watched Panorama last week, you will have been as horrified as I was by some of the footage.  The treatment portrayed was disgraceful and a very clear illustration of the need for the changes that we are currently introducing in the health and care sector. As Liberal Democrat Care Minister, I am determined that everyone should be able to get good quality care, and to be treated with dignity.

As minister, I want to make sure that we are able to prosecute care providers for serious failings of care.  So we are ending the flawed system inherited from Labour in which there was no effective corporate accountability.  There will now be a real deterrent in place against serious neglect, and providers will face prosecution where they provide unacceptable standards of care.

We are also introducing a “fit and proper persons” test, to ensure that directors of care homes and other health and care providers are of the right character.  People should not run care homes or health trusts if, fundamentally, they are not of good character.

At the same time as making sure that the people who run care homes are suitable for the role, we are also introducing compulsory new minimum training standards for health and care workers as part of the Care Bill.  Care home companies – along with all other health and care providers – will also be under a statutory duty of candour so they have to be open when mistakes are made leading to death or significant harm. There will also be greater protection and advice provided to whistleblowers in the health and care system.

Tougher inspections also have a crucial role to play in driving up standards.  Last year we established the new post of Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care. The Chief Inspector is responsible for transforming our approach to assessing care homes to make sure they provide the good quality care that people deserve.  The new Chief Inspector, Andrea Sutcliffe, has proposed a system which will focus much more on the experience, ability, and values of those applying to run care homes.  And when inspecting existing care homes, the CQC’s new inspection regime will listen much more to service users and staff, and make sure that tougher action is taken against services where there is not a registered manager in place. The CQC is also exploring the potential of using “mystery shopper” schemes and hidden cameras to monitor care and promote a better culture of safe and high-quality care.

Finally, it is essential that individuals, friends, and relatives have access to clear information when making decisions about care providers. The new CQC assessment process will award ratings to every care home and adult social care service by 2016, so people can easily compare a service with others in the area.  Ratings will start this Autumn. We have also given people the opportunity to post their own comments, trip adviser-style, online via the NHS Choices website – and I would really encourage people to do so.

The Liberal Democrats want to build a fairer society and that means providing better care for people in care homes and in their own home. The poor care that was highlighted by Panorama must be confronted, and there can be no hiding places for neglect or abuse.


Photo of James Terry Court, Croydon by sjr60

* Norman Lamb is MP for North Norfolk and was Liberal Democrat Minister of State at the Department of Health until May 2015. He now chairs the Science and Technology Select Committee

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  • Geoffrey Payne 7th May '14 - 1:24pm

    Isn’t it interesting that a government that is committed to deregulation finds it can only fix these problems by better regulation! Panorama was reporting on these scandals year ago when Labour were in office, so although it is excellent to see these policies put in place now, why did it take so long? No mention is made in the article about how much it will cost to fund this extra regulation. It is all very well having this in place but will these standards be enforced?

  • Chris Manners 7th May '14 - 5:55pm

    You’re irrelevant.

    It’s down to NHS England and Monitor.

    You voted for that.

    Do us a favour and don’t insult our intelligence any more.

  • Stephen Donnelly 7th May '14 - 8:15pm

    I find this approach so depressing. If children misbehave to we resort to corporal punishment ? Do liberal really believe the system is failing because of criminal staff ? Is it surprising that we cannot recruit ‘suitable’ staff if contracts are awarded to the lowest cost provider ? Do you really think the companies wining these contracts adhere to the spirit of the minimum wage legislation? Is external inspection really an answer to the perverse incentives established by the commissioning system? Do you really believe in the CQC? Is Trip Adviser our answer to evidence based medicine.

    Does trotting out the fairer society mantra does not make a policy fair.

  • I agree with Stephen

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