Signature Senior Lifestyle managing director, Aidan Roche, is urging the Care Quality Commission to maintain standards as it sets out to be entirely funded by the industries it regulates.
Mr Roche (pictured above) praises the organisation for improving the way it works, and wants to see consistency so that its ratings are trusted.
“CQC’s new fundamental standards for inspection have certainly been good for the sector. The challenge for CQC looking ahead will be to deliver an efficient and consistent level of assessment across a range of services in an environment where budgets and inspection schedules already appear to be stretched,” he told Care Home Professional.
The CQC increases its fees to care homes from today, which will lead to it being entirely funded by the operators it inspects within two years.
Mr Roche says that Signature, which operates care homes for wealthy self-funding residents, will be less affected than operators that rely on local authority-funded people. Even so, he questions the timing of the hike in fees.
“As you are aware operators are less than pleased with the fee increases. I think the timing of increases do not reflect a raft of input from the sector to CQC during their consultation period, with CQC now attempting to be fully cost neutral within the next two years.
“These increases only compound the cost pressure being felt across the sector with National Living Wage rates live from 1st April and other compliance costs biting also (i.e. auto-enrolment pension obligations).
“These increases obviously impact Signature too, albeit we have more flexibility to grow revenue unlike a lot of operators who are largely at the mercy of wholly inadequate local authority funding,” he states.
Avnish Goyal, managing director of Hallmark Care Homes, which also operates mainly in the affluent London commuter belt, also stresses that the CQC needs to be accountable to the people that are now being asked to completely fund it. “The care sector is currently facing a number of challenges and the latest news from CQC is another additional cost, which the care sector will have to deal with,” he says.
“As we are now going to be fully-funding CQC, we would expect them to make more of a conscious effort in providing a timely and efficient service that is value for money and consistent to us as their customer.”