More Communities threatened with closure.
Our campaign to get the wording of Right Support Right Care Right Culture changed has never been more needed.
In the last six weeks Hft have given the residents of Walberton Sussex three months’ notice of eviction. Fortunately, families are fighting back with a lot of support from the Furlong Close families who themselves faced a similar situation, a few years ago, but fought back and won.
In addition, we have just heard that the Leonard Cheshire Charity is proposing to close a further 22 homes. We are investigating this at this very moment – so more news about this will follow in due course.
The justification for such closures
Financial pressures are what care providers use to justify many closures, but they also acknowledge that they are working in an environment in which the main regulator of care the CQC have issued guidelines which say on page 4:
“We will only register, and favourably rate, services that allow people’s dignity and privacy to be maintained and that facilitate person-centred care. This must be in line with current best practice guidance and not be developed as new campus or congregate settings.”
Right Support Right Care Right Culture defines ‘campus’ and ‘congregate’ settings as;
‘Campuses’ are group homes clustered together on the same site and usually sharing 24-hour staff and some facilities. ‘Congregate’ settings are separate from communities and without access to the options, choices, dignity and independence that most people take for granted in their lives. ‘
Meetings with the CQC
We have now had three meetings with the CQC since December last year. Whilst they have all been cordial, we have failed on each occasion to have a meaningful dialogue about the substance of our representations.
At out last meeting in September the CQC finally confirmed formally which academic studies and other policy guidelines are used to justify the statements in italics above.
We have now undertaken a thorough review of all these 12 and another associated 27 documents.
What is very clear is that they were developed specifically for a small proportion of people who have a learning disability and / or autism with behaviour that challenges (these people represent approximately 10 – 15% of people with a learning disability and / or autism).
They were never intended to be used as guidelines and statutory regulations for the vast majority of people with a learning disability and /or autism.
We have read all this material, and we can find no justification WHATSOEVER for the statement about congregate settings in relation to vast majority of people with learning disabilities and or autism.
We have another meeting with the CQC in late December. Prior to that we are writing to the Non-Executive Chair of the CQC with a copy of the above analysis. We are asking him to use his position to facilitate a more constructive dialogue than we have so far had to date.
Local Authorities and Freedom of Information Requests.
Over the last few months, we have also sent Freedom of Information Requests to all Local Authorities in England. We are currently analysing the replies but an initial headline that will be of interest is that quite a number of local authorities have confirmed that CQC guidelines have led them to ignore village communities and other congregate settings.
Molly our Campaign Officer for nearly a year has completed her post graduate studies at University College London and has also got a full-time job in the Charity sector. We thank her for her brilliant contribution to our work; she’s done a great job supporting the Action Group and helping the campaign progress. We are delighted that she’s got such an exciting new job and we wish he every success.
We will be looking to appoint a new Campaign Officer in the New Year.
More Detailed Update
There will be a much fuller and more detailed update on the campaign in the swinter edition of Resnews.
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