Care Homes: Personnel

Health written question – answered on 24th November 2010.

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Photo of Austin Mitchell Austin Mitchell Labour, Great Grimsby

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to take further steps to ensure that care homes are staffed by (a) appropriately qualified and (b) adequately trained professionals.

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care services in England. CQC's role is to provide assurance of safety and quality for people who use services and patients.

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (the 2008 Act), providers of regulated health and adult social care activities must register with CQC and meet a set of 16 requirements of essential safety and quality. The registration requirements, set in secondary legislation, include a requirement that providers must take steps to ensure that at all times there are sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced staff, and that staff are supported in relation to their responsibilities by receiving appropriate training, professional development, supervision and appraisal.

Failure to comply with the registration requirements is an offence, and under the 2008 Act CQC has a wide range of enforcement powers that it can use if a provider is not compliant.

These include the issue of a warning notice that requires improvement within a specified time, prosecution, and the power to cancel a provider's registration, removing its ability to provide regulated activities.

In addition, Skills for Care is working with employers to ensure that care workers can access continued professional development, (Skills for Care is an employer led work force development organisation for adult social care which is largely funded by the Department, and the partner of the Sector Skills Council in England).

National Occupational Standards describe the skills, knowledge and values care workers should meet for a variety of settings at different levels.

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