THE number of unannounced inspections of care homes in Scotland has risen in each of the last two years, figures released today show.
Last year inspectors from the care watchdog completed 1,400 inspection of care homes for older people – of which more than 98 per cent were unannounced. The equivalent figure two years ago was 50 per cent.
Inspectors from the Care Inspectorate have the power to visit care homes 24 hours-a-day to check standards are being maintained.
The figures were published today to coincide with a public meeting of the Care Inspectorate’s board in Dundee. They show that across all types of care services – from childminders to nursing homes – just four per cent of managers had advance knowledge that inspectors were about to visit.
Some categories of care service – typically where service is provided in a private home or in constantly-changing locations – are subject to short-notice inspections. In these cases, inspectors telephone to establish where the people they are inspecting will be on a given day, giving minimal notice.
Annette Bruton, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, said: “Virtually every care home now faces unannounced inspections – whether they support children, adults or older people – as do almost all nurseries.
“No system of inspection can guarantee that bad things will never happen to vulnerable people, but unannounced inspections are absolutely essential. They are a key way of testing how well a care service is actually performing.
“As well as checking policies and procedures, our inspectors observe the quality of care that is being provided at any given time, day or night.
“Last year, we increased the number of our inspections, and stepped up their intensity. We check the quality of care being offered, the fabric of the building, the quality of staffing and management and leadership, and grade them on a scale from unsatisfactory to excellent.
“Every inspection report is published on our website for all to see. In the small number of cases where a manager knows that our inspectors are visiting, there must be sound reasons for it.
“Some of these figures include multiple inspections of the same place because when a service is not up to scratch we don’t just report the fact – we demand improvements and come back time and again to check they have happened.
“Our job is not to just to inspect care services: it is to help them meet the highest standards.
“This year we are continuing our programme of unannounced inspections and will target our scrutiny on those care services that cause the most concern. The public rightly demands the highest standards and so do we.”
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