The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today published the findings of an independent review into its regulation of Whorlton Hall between 2015 and 2019.
CQC commissioned Professor Glynis Murphy to undertake the review to look at whether the abuse of patients at Whorlton Hall could have been recognised earlier by the regulatory process. Professor Murphy was also asked to make recommendations for how CQC can improve its regulation of similar services in the future.
The review finds that there were a number of reasons why CQC didn’t detect abusive behaviour of staff in Whorlton Hall. Professor Murphy found that CQC followed its procedures in relation to Whorlton Hall but concludes that a number of improvements are needed to strengthen its inspection and regulatory approach.
The review makes six recommendations relating to:
- displaying data for services in a user-friendly way to help inform inspections
- changes to inspection methodology including more unannounced and evening and weekend inspections, more regular PIRs and swifter publication of inspection reports
- improving the response to abuse allegations, safeguarding alerts and whistleblowing
- prioritising gathering the views and experiences of people using services and their families on inspection
- more flexible inspection approach when information about a service indicates that it is at risk of failing its service users
- not registering isolated, unsuitable or outdated services or allowing them to expand
Professor Murphy will be presenting phase two of the review, which will include further improvements for CQC, later this year.
Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive of CQC, said:
“We welcome Professor Murphy’s review which makes a number of recommendations for how we can improve our inspections and regulation of services similar to Whorlton Hall in the future.
“We will be incorporating the recommendations into our new strategy to ensure we improve how we regulate mental health, learning disability and/or autism services to get it right for people who use these services.
“Some of the recommendations relate to work that is already in progress but there is more to be done. We are committed to working closely with people who use services, families and professionals to develop our approach in a way which more effectively safeguards their human rights.
“In the meantime, inspectors and their managers have been given supporting information to help them identify and respond to ‘closed cultures’ in services. We are also refreshing our guidance on registration and variations to registration for providers supporting people with a learning disability and autistic people. The work we are doing in our review of restraint, seclusion and segregation continues, and the final report will make practical recommendations for CQC and the wider system to improve care and outcomes for people with a learning disability and autistic people.
“I am grateful to Professor Murphy for undertaking this important work and to all of those who have contributed to the first phase of the review. I am clear that we have work to do to strengthen our approach, and we are committed to doing that.”