Disabled campaigners and politicians have raised serious concerns about the social care inspection regime, after last week’s revelations that the number of cancellations and postponements rose by more than 360 per cent in just one year.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has so far refused to say why the number of inspections of adult social care services that were cancelled or rescheduled rose so sharply from April 2015 to April 2016.
The figures – revealed by CQC after a freedom of information request by Disability News Service (DNS) – show 25 inspections were cancelled in April 2015, rising to 103 in April 2016, while the number of inspections rescheduled increased from 25 in April 2015 to 130 in April 2016.
Despite CQC’s refusal to explain the rise, the Department of Health (DH) was in disarray this week, suggesting at one point that “ultimately the cancellations are a result of funding and fee issues, of which we would not comment”.
But when DNS tried to clarify how the fees CQC charges care services to be regulated was connected with a rise in the number of cancelled inspections, a DH spokeswoman said she was “not attempting to make a direct link between funding and cancellations”, and then that it “would be both incorrect and wrong to quote me as suggesting that fees and funding are linked”.
Despite the continuing refusal of both DH and CQC to explain why cancellations and rescheduled inspections have risen so sharply, disabled campaigners and politicians have suggested that the figures pose serious questions about the way CQC is being run.
Jonathan Bartley (pictured), the Green party’s work and pensions spokesman, who is standing alongside Caroline Lucas in a job share to lead the party, said CQC’s regime of adult social care inspection “appears to be disintegrating”.
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