Page last updated at 08:19 GMT, Monday, 20 September 2004 09:19 UK

Warning over care home standards

Elderly care - generic
Standards in care homes have been criticised by experts

Almost half of Scotland's care homes for the elderly and a third of those catering for children fall short of national standards, experts claim.

It follows an inquiry carried out by the Care Commission.

It calls for a national effort to raise standards. Campaigners argue it is not good enough that most homes provide "reasonable" care.

The Care Commission's job is to ensure homes for children or the elderly operate within national guidelines.

These outline the standard and quality of care and safety issues, such as fire precautions.

The Commission's survey suggested many homes had breached at least one regulation.

Scottish Care is not a protectionist organisation. We don't represent any care home that is not abiding by regulations and rules
Joe Campbell
Scottish Care

Chief executive Jacquie Roberts said most providers were delivering reasonable standards of care, but that was not enough.

The majority of elderly people were satisfied with the quality of care and most young people in residential homes felt they enjoyed a supportive environment, she said.

Problems included below-standard staffing and record keeping as well as failure to ensure residents' welfare was protected.

The care homes industry has come under greater scrutiny following a blaze at a home for the elderly in Lanarkshire last January which killed 14 residents.

'Balanced' report

The Scottish Executive wants all new and converted care homes fitted with sprinkler systems following the fire at Rosepark Nursing Home in Uddingston, near Glasgow.

Joe Campbell, the chief executive of Scottish Care, which represents care providers, welcomed the report as "well-balanced".

He told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Scottish Care is not a protectionist organisation. We don't represent any care home that is not abiding by regulations and rules.

Rosepark Care Home
Fourteen people died at the Rosepark Home

"That's why we're working very closely with the Care Commission.

"Out of the 908 care homes (Scottish Care represents) I know very few who are not striving to improve the lot of elderly people they look after."

Deputy Health Minister Tom McCabe said that care homes should use the report to further improve the quality of life for both young and old.

A Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey recently revealed staff in nursing homes felt a lack of funding was undermining their work.

A previous independent report showed there was a £61 weekly shortfall per resident within the industry.

The RCN also warned that half of the nurses working in care homes could retire in the next five years.



SEE ALSO
Care homes issued safety warnings
19 May 04 |  Scotland
Care homes 'need funds increase'
14 Sep 04 |  Scotland
Elderly care provision concerns
08 Jul 04 |  Scotland
Review finds room for improvement
23 Feb 04 |  Scotland
Elderly care funds claim dismissed
09 Feb 04 |  Scotland
Action call over elderly care
11 Jan 04 |  Scotland

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