Care homes are battling with overwhelming levels of bureaucracy caused by a proliferation of public agencies demanding information and constantly altering procedures.
What operators have known for years has been proven beyond doubt by a Government investigation into red tape as part of a nationwide drive to save £10 billion pounds for taxpayers in this parliament.
The study: Cutting Red Tape – Review of adult social care – residential and nursing home sector, discovered a bamboozling array of processes, procedures and forms to be filled by myriad agencies.
“The overarching message from the review’s respondents was that many providers were unclear about the respective roles and responsibilities of the different public agencies they interacted with and that this lack of a common understanding of “who does what” was compounded by the often inconsistent approaches by those public agencies in different areas,” the report states.
“Numerous different agencies visit care homes for a variety of reasons and at different frequencies. Providers feel the cumulative burden is significant, that there is duplication in visits and in information requests, and that there often appears to be little joining up between the agencies, or clarity as to how each one relates to the others,” it adds.
Anna Soubry, Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise (pictured above), wrote a foreword to the report that concedes there is much work to be done to strip out duplication and other inefficient practices.
“No one disputes the importance of a robust regulatory system in this sector,” she says. “It’s vital – to ensure high standards of care and to protect people who are vulnerable and that message came through loud and clear from the Review.”
“However, those of you who responded also told us that often there is still a level of duplicated activity between regulators and those commissioning services. You have told us that this extra process and paperwork leaves less time for dedicated staff to deliver care as well as adding to the financial burdens of a hard pressed sector. That is why we are determined to see any wasteful duplication of process and unnecessary paperwork removed, giving everyone more time to do their job and care for people,” Ms Soubry concludes.
An exasperated but unnamed care home operator was quoted in the report with comments that were described as “typical”. “An absolutely excessive amount of documentation is required in care homes which inevitably takes time away from caring,” the operator says.
“Recently completed a very successful CQC inspection which was time consuming, took staff away from operational tasks. We accept this. However, now our local commissioning body will be doing their own day long Inspection visit!! Takes time away from front line care, trying to operate on minimal staffing levels,” the operator adds.
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