Service Reconfiguration

20.12.18

Tribunal rules in favour of CQC’s enforcement action at 18 Sussex care homes

A first-tier tribunal has ruled that enforcement powers imposed on 18 care homes in Sussex to protect its residents was the right decision from the CQC.

After finding wide-spread issues on successive inspections in 2017, the CQC proposed imposing specific conditions on Sussex Health Care, requiring monthly decisions on all of its services.

The provider appealed the decision and after a five-day hearing, the first-tier tribunal has ruled in favour of the CQC.

Judge Siobhan Goodrich dismissed the appeal as the matters found on inspection that gave rise to the enforcements were “serious,” and added that there were “still serious concerns about the services provided at the vast majority” of the care homes.

She stated: “We are satisfied that the decisions regarding conditions are objectively justified and necessary in order to uphold the public interest in the protection of the safety and well-being of service users and to maintain and promote public confidence in the system of regulation.

“In our view, the decision to impose each of the conditions on the provider is reasonable, necessary, and proportionate to the legitimate public interest.”

The CQC provided the tribunal with evidence that inspections had continued to find concerns about the quality of services and a failure by the provider to deal with the risks to people in their care.

The chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, Andrea Sutcliffe, welcomed the decision, saying: “This is an important case in confirming our decision to take action against a provider who has been consistently failing to protect the interests of the people in their care.”

She said that the CQC’s inspectors had found “a pattern of poor care” in many of Sussex Health Care’s care homes.

“The services have been deteriorating, people have been put at risk, and the provider has been slow to respond to incidents or deal with people’s healthcare needs.     

“At one care home, we found a service that was unsafe because of risks from choking, lack of access to their call bells, falls, poor hydration management, improper use of pressure-relieving equipment, and poor staff practice that went unchallenged by the managers. In that case we used our urgent enforcement powers to remove the location from the care register.

“Following this judgement by the first-tier tribunal, we have imposed conditions on all their remaining services to ensure that the residents are safe, and receiving the standard of care that everyone has the right to expect.”

Image credit - SolStock

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