COMMENT: Failing care homes must not be left to fester

Entrusting people you do not know with the care of your loved ones can require a big leap of faith for some people.

Monday, 19th March 2018, 4:54 am

Thankfully, the overwhelming vast majority of those working in care homes, tending to the elderly and those with disabilities, got into the job for one reason: because they want to help.

So it’s troubling that research found more than half of homes in Portsmouth are rated by the sector’s watchdog as either inadequate or requiring improvement.

Yet if the people working in homes are passionate and caring, how can so many facilities end up with such poor ratings?

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The Kings Fund charity points the finger squarely at budget cuts.

In surmising a report published last month, the charity says ‘much of (the) shortfall has been met by private spending and informal care’ but adds ‘it is also likely that many people’s care needs are going unmet’.

And it only takes a glance through editions of The News in recent months to see how players in the social care sector can falter.

Care UK had run Harry Sotnick House, but the home could now be taken over by Hampshire County Council after it received a bad report and the health care giant lost the contract for the work.

Portsmouth City Council was going to take on the work, but is in talks with the county authority.

That is two councils stepping in to paper over the cracks of a firm that should perform better.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage – the minister for adult social care – said it was ‘unacceptable’ some authorities are falling short.

So what can be done?

We know that in Portsmouth, council bosses have previously said they are looking at setting up their own inspection team, and while it could not replace the Care Quality Commission watchdog, it would aim at driving up standards across the board. It seems, in fairness, Portsmouth’s council is trying to do what it can for vulnerable residents who need help.

This is an area that needs urgent attention for the benefit of those in homes now and in the future. Failing homes must not be allowed to fester, and more cash needs to be pumped in.