HC Deb 30 April 1990 vol 171 cc409-10W
Mr. Forman

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure the quality of care in residential care homes.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

We are today publishing "Caring for Quality" guidance on standards for residential homes for elderly people. Copies have been placed in the Library. This SSI publication is an important further component of the Department's programme to raise standards in residential care. Steps are being taken to improve standards in residential care homes. Other measures includeThe setting up by local authorities of arms length inspection units to inspect all homes, whether public or independent, in an even-handed way; A training pack for registration and inspection staff commissioned by the Department which was published earlier this year; A £2.2 million development programme, the caring in homes initiative, aimed at improving life for people in residential care homes; From 1 April 1991 social services authorities will be responsible for meeting the care costs of people eligible for public support who enter independently run residential and nursing homes. In entering into contracts with such homes authorities will be expected to satisfy themselves of the quality of care provided. In addition, care managers will ensure that the needs of the individual continue to be monitored.

The complaints procedures for personal social services to be set up and publicised by all social services authorities will provide additional safeguards.

The Registered Homes Act 1984 and associated regulations placed a responsibility on local authorities to register private and voluntary residential care homes catering for four or more residents, to inspect them at least twice a year and to ensure that good standards are maintained. Fresh legislation is under consideration to bring homes for fewer than four residents under control.