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Care Sector Alert - Spring 2011

Sarah Ellson


United Kingdom

Care Sector Alert - Spring 2011

Welcome to the Spring Edition of our Care Sector Alert. This edition includes recent cases involving the registration of social workers and a director of a private hospital. It highlights new guidance and initiatives from the CQC and cases where the CQC have published concerns about nursing homes. It looks at what commentators are saying about the new Ofsted framework for children's homes inspections and the CQC plans announced to develop a new scheme to recognise excellence in adult social care.
In February I was delighted to host the LexisNexis conference on the Regulation of Health and Social Care Providers. It was very interesting to hear Cynthia Bower, Chief Executive of the CQC provide her update. The CQC has clearly set itself a challenging new agenda. It was acknowledged by Ms Bower, and reflected in comments made by other speakers and from the floor, that the regulator has not always had the luxury of fully developing all the materials required to support the major changes to regulation in the care sector. Attendees wanted to explore the experience of nursing and care homes applying for registration under the new arrangements which took effect on 1 October 2010. Others have just begun to experience new approaches to paper based reviews and how best to demonstrate compliance with essential standards of quality and safety. Several of the speakers sought to explain the new risk profiles held by the CQC and how these change and what information will be in the public domain.
Judge John Aitken brought the conference up to date with the operation of the First Tier Tribunal Health Education and Social Care Chamber and in particular the work being done with MOUs to ensure appeals against cancellation of registration can be dealt with on an expedited basis following the House of Lords case of Jain. We were also able to look at changes to the Independent Safeguarding Authority and the new Protection of Freedoms Bill. Frances Patterson of the Law Commission trailed some of the matters which will be covered in its review of the the legislative framework for adult social care. This existing law is considered inadequate, often incomprehensible and outdated and reforms and consolidation can be anticipated later in the year. The day after the conference the Law Commission also announced it would be conducting a review of the regulatory regime that governs the work and conduct of healthcare and social care professionals. The Commission will aim to modernise and simplify the law to create a single over-arching structure within which the regulators can work.
The undoubted truth is that things are changing very quickly in this sector, new coalition government policies and legislation, in combination with widespread public cuts and an evolving approach to proportionate regulation will see the delivery of care change beyond recognition in the coming months and years.

Sarah Ellson, Partner


Care Quality Commission

Sunnymead Manor fails to meet six standards
The owners of Sunnymead Manor nursing home in Bristol has been threatened with legal enforcement action after an inspection finds that the home fails to meet six of the essential standards of quality and safety.

Kingsmead Lodge must improve its standards
The results of the latest Care Quality Commission inspection of Kingsmead Lodge in Bristol show that the nursing home is failing to meet essential standards, with areas of concern including care and welfare of people who use services, and management of medicines.

Standards of care to expect if you receive support or treatment in a care home or in your own home
The CQC have published two important guides for people who receive care in a care home or in their own home.

New excellence scheme for adult social care
The CQC has announced plans to develop a new scheme to recognise excellence in adult social care.

Sector publications

Social workers failed teenage girls abused by sex predators
A serious case review has found that social workers failed to recognise the signs that two teenage girls in care were being abused by a gang of sexual predators.

Council to outsource social workers and set tightest threshold
Birmingham Council is planning to outsource all its adult social workers to a social enterprise and set the country's tightest eligibility threshold for care, as part of a bid to save £300m across the council and £107m from adult care over the next four years.

GSCC may have breached social worker's human rights
A judge of the First-Tier Tribunal has found that the General Social Care Council may have breached a social worker's human rights by refusing to let him re-register.

Social care professionals 'fail to spot alcohol misusers'
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence says that social care and health professionals are not identifying people who are dependent on alcohol, meaning the overwhelming majority are not getting treatment.

Children's homes voice fears over new Ofsted criteria
Ofsted's tough new framework for children's homes inspections, tallied with council budget cuts, will devastate the children's home sector, providers have warned.

Social worker on driving ban struck off over car allowance
A social worker who dishonestly claimed an essential car user's allowance from her employer while banned from driving has been struck off by the General Social Care Council.

Council faces legal challenge over care cuts
Lawyers acting for a 65-year-old woman with significant learning disabilities have filed a claim for judicial review against Birmingham Council over its plan to set an unprecedentedly high "super-critical" threshold for adult care.

High Court forces council to support teenager with autism
East Riding of Yorkshire Council is to provide support for a teenager with severe autism once he turns 18, following a High Court appeal. 

First Tier Tribunal for Health Education and Social Care

Jaswinder Singh Bains v General Social Care Council [2010] 1769 SW 
An appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal against a decision to refuse the re-registration of a social worker was successful, and it was found that the General Social Care Council’s decision-making processes may have been in breach of a social worker’s right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Rotherham Private Hospital Ltd v Care Quality Commission [2010]1740 EA
The First-Tier Tribunal dismissed an appeal by the Director of a private clinic whose application to register with the Care Quality Commission had been refused, as there was evidence of serious breaches of National Minimum Standards and the Care Quality Commission had acted appropriately. 
Nidi Kate Ariemugovbe v General Social Care Council [2010] 1744 SW
A social worker successfully appealed a decision by the General Social Care Council to refuse her registration for forging a diploma certificate, after she provided evidence to the First-Tier Tribunal demonstrating that the diploma was genuine.  

IFILL v GSCC [2010] 1828 SW
The First-Tier Tribunal dismissed an appeal against the decision of the Registration Committee of the General Social Care Council to refuse the appellant’s application for renewal of registration as a social worker. The Appellant had been convicted of a total of nine criminal offences involving dishonesty between 1978 and 1997. She had not declared these convictions when she was studying to become a social worker, nor whilst in a number of subsequent jobs. Whilst the Tribunal indicated that there was no reason why she should not continue to work in the care field in some capacity, her previous convictions and failure to disclose these justified not allowing her to register as a professional social worker with the public status that carries and the expectations of public trust that involves. 

JB v General Social Care Council [2010] 1839 SW-SUS
An appeal by a social worker against the General Social Care Council's decision to impose a further Interim Suspension Order ( ISO)  upon the Applicant for a period of four months was dismissed. The Tribunal accepted that it was necessary for the protection of the public to impose a further ISO. It considered that the material placed  before it was capable of establishing that the Registrant consistently failed to respond to direct management instructions, procedures and advice in connection with important aspects of his duties. In particular the PCC noted that there was material to suggest that the Registrant had acted inappropriately with service users, and failed to meet agreed time scales. Despite the delay and the effect that had on the Registrant a further ISO for 8 months remained proportionate.

Independent Safeguarding Authority

Court rules automatic barring of nurses 'unlawful'
The Royal College of Nursing has won its judicial review against the barring scheme run by the Independent Safeguarding Authority. You can view full text of the case here.

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