Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
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Commission welcomes CQC review of home care

EHRC says better management and tight regulation needed to protect the rights of older people.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission yesterday (13th Feb) welcomed a new report into home care by the Care Quality Commission, and said that better management and tighter regulation of home care must continue, to safeguard the rights of older people, and to ensure their voices are heard.

The CQC review of 250 care agencies was carried out following the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission's Close to Home Inquiry report.(1) This in depth formal Inquiry showed that inadequacies in care had a severe impact on people, and sometimes breached their human rights. The new CQC report echoes many of the EHRC Inquiry findings. These include care workers failing to turn up, rushed visits resulting in people not getting help to eat or drink, failing to listen to the wishes of service users and a lack of support for care workers themselves.

The Commission has found that many people are extremely reluctant to make complaints, even when things go seriously wrong. Failing to act on patient information and feedback was also a key finding of the Inquiry into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust. As the numbers of people needing home care continues to rise, home care inspections must capture the voices of those using these services.

The Commission is continuing follow-up action to its Inquiry to ensure the human rights of older people receiving home care are better protected. This includes producing practical advice to people on their rights.(2) Its own review of compliance with its earlier recommendations will be published in May. Depending on the findings, legal action has not been ruled out.

The Commission also continues to call for the law to be strengthened to ensure that private providers of publicly commissioned home care are subject to the Human Rights Act, so that people receiving home care have the same protection as those in residential care.

Equality and Human Rights Commission CEO, Mark Hammond said:

'Very many more people receive home care than residential care. Many older care users are reluctant to complain, so home care needs to be better managed and closely and carefully regulated, to protect their human rights.'

'We are pleased that the Care Quality Commission has put home care under scrutiny through this review. The CQC needs to continue this increased regulatory attention on providers and listen closely to the voices of home care service users.'

For more press information contact the Commission's media office on 0161 829 8102, out of hours 07767 272 818.

Notes to Editors

(1) The Commission's Inquiry into home care was published in 2011 Close to home: An inquiry into older people and human rights in home care.

(2)The Commission has published guidance for users and their families: Your home care and human rights

As part of its follow up to the Home Care Inquiry, the Commission has held commissioning seminars for local authorities and will be producing guidance for them on how to incorporate a human rights based approach when commissioning care.

The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission. It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights. The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.

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