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Care Homes: Standards

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government has taken to improve standards in residential care homes since 1997. (186295)

Under the Care Standards Act 2000 and the Health and Social Care Act 2003, the Government have set up an independent inspection and regulation regime to raise the quality of care and level of protection for older and vulnerable people living in care homes.

All care homes in England must be regulated (registered and inspected) by the Commissions for Social Care Inspection (CSCI). CSCI regulates care homes in accordance with statutory regulations and national minimum standards (NMS). CSCI has a range of enforcement powers and will take action to drive up standards and protect the welfare of residents.

The regulations set out what providers must do by law. The Government introduced the NMS to set out clearly what care homes are expected to provide to demonstrate that they are complying with the regulations. Since their introduction, CSCI has reported a steady improvement in the performance of care homes against them. According to the CSCI report, “The State of Social Care 2006-07”, published on 29 January 2008, care homes for older people meet on average 80 per cent. of standards, a 21 per cent. improvement since 2003. Care homes for younger adults—aged 18 to 64—meet on average 83 per cent. of standards, which is a 20 per cent. improvement since 2003.