A new analysis  has found that virtually all care homes forced to close in England by the Care Quality Commission are run on a for-profit basis

The study led by researchers at the University of Oxford and funded by the Nuffield Foundation assessed the number of care homes which had been forced to close by the independent regulator of health and social care in England, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

This found that almost all involuntary closures since 2011 occurred in for-profit care homes: 804 out of 816 closures. This translates into one in 30 for-profit care homes having been closed involuntarily by the CQC during this time.

An involuntary closure is typically a last resort for care homes that have put their residents at risk, or whose care services have continuously failed to meet industry standards. However, 52 of the homes which had been forced to close had been rated as ‘good’ during their last CQC inspection.

According to the researchers, this suggests that these homes posed urgent safety concerns, with residents at acute risk of harm. The researchers estimate that up to 20,000 residents were forced to relocate urgently due to enforced care home closures since 2011.

Lead author Dr Anders Bach-Mortensen (Associate Professor at Roskilde University and senior researcher at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford) said:

‘Involuntary closures are currently absent from the debate on outsourced care. Although these are rare events, enforced closures typically involve serious regulation and safety breaches that can inflict substantial costs to both the local authority and residents in need of relocation. But most importantly, the neglect leading up to an enforced and acute closure can be traumatic and harmful for residents. To protect care users going forward, it should be a priority to investigate if there are systematic reasons for why these enforcements occur almost exclusively in private for-profit provision.’


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