Thursday, 20 November 2014

And ideology wins once more ...

A month ago I blogged about the intended changes to the Care Home regulations, which effectively deleted three critical requirements: the responsibility of a provider to tell residents about complaints procedures, the requirement to offer a choice of food, and the requirement to plan for and have in place emergency procedures.

In an attempt to get this decision re-considered we had several conversations with the Department of Health, and Lord Hunt agreed to trigger a debate about it in the House of Lords, which happened earlier this month.

So what was the outcome?

Well, according to the Community Care magazine, ‘the concerns will now be addressed in the government’s new proposals and will be brought to the attention of the Care Quality Commission, who are due to issue guidance on how care homes can meet the new standards.’ 

And, in some quarters this has been hailed as a success. I wish we could agree, but I’m afraid this simply puts a positive spin on ‘no change’.

The Government has not moved an inch on this matter. The legal requirements of the regulations, in relation to these three issues, have been downgraded to guidance instead. And the regulator cannot take enforcement action on guidance; it must go back to the regulations, which are ambiguous to say the least.

An esteemed colleague of ours, Michael Preston Shoot, makes a distinction between 'evidence driven policy' and 'policy driven evidence'. One is about addressing and understanding facts and developing policy on that basis. The other is about developing the policy, and then making the facts fit around it. With little regard for reality.

You can decide for yourself which this is. Ideology always wins over reality!

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