Today three staff from Winterbourne care home appeared in court to admit abuse of their patients. The case came to light after a shocking Panorama documentary expose of appalling abuse at the care home.
The care home had previously been inspected three times by the Care Quality Commission and deemed to provide acceptable care - even more shockingly it failed to act on three emails it received from a highly qualified nurse who used to work at the home warning of the abuse at the unit. The CQC clearly failed in this instance and allowed Winterbourne's vulnerable patients suffering to continue.
Why is this relevant to the NHS?
The CQC will have its powers widened under the NHS bill, giving it "sole responsibility for registration against essential standards of quality and safety" of private providers looking to deliver NHS care. In short this means the CQC will check whether private companies provide decent and safe care and treatment. Last year the CQC cut its inspections by 70%. It has just 900 inspectors to cover 18,000 care homes, 8,000 GP practices, 400 NHS hospital trusts, 9,000 dental practices and, in addition, every future new NHS provider.
Given what happened at Winterbourne, it is clear that the CQC is already struggling to cope in its role, do you trust them to ensure that private providers are really up to scratch?