Tribunal supports CQC’s decision to prevent a hospital ward from changing its registration to a residential service for people with a learning disability
Ensuring that people with a severe learning disability receive the support they need in the community took an important step forward this week.
This follows the Tribunal’s endorsement of a decision made by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to reject an application from the provider Oakview Estates Limited to change one of its hospital specialist facilities in the region from a rehabilitation service into a permanent nursing home.
A First-tier Tribunal hearing has dismissed an appeal from the provider for CQC’s decision to be overturned.
The provider, Oakview Estates Limited runs a number of rehabilitation and support services across the country for people with a learning disability and autism with complex needs. The provider had applied to CQC in April 2016 to vary its registration for its ‘Wast Hills House’ service so that one of three buildings on its hospital site, called ‘The Bungalow’, could become a nursing home for up to six people with a severe learning disability, autism and complex needs and who required intensive support.
CQC rejected the application because it did not support the national policy and evidence-based guidance to develop person-centred community services and to close inpatient hospital facilities for people with a severe learning disability and/or autism, as set out in Building the Right Support published by NHS England, the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services in 2015.
Following CQC’s decision, Oakview Estates Limited submitted an appeal, which was heard by the Care Standards First-tier Tribunal over four days. This concluded on Friday (16 June) and the Tribunal’s written decision was given on Monday (26 June) with the case being dismissed, meaning CQC’s decision still stands.
Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission, welcomed the decision and said:
“The national commitment to transform care for people with a learning disability and/or autism means that they should not remain in a hospital setting as inpatients when they could be better supported in the community. To live up to this promise CQC will apply rigorous standards to the registration of new service providers, and seek to ensure that providers with inappropriate models of care are not registered.
“This is what guided our decision to reject Oakview Estate’s application to amend the care and support they were providing in The Bungalow from a hospital to a care home. It was not a judgment on the quality of care provided within Wast Hills House which we rated as Outstanding in March 2017.
“In our registration review of The Bungalow, we found that the site lacked warmth and was very clinical – it had the feel of a hospital rather than a care home. Also, when we reviewed discharge arrangements, worryingly there were no plans to move people into community settings eventually, which meant there was a risk they could end up staying there indefinitely.
“We have a crucial responsibility to ensure that providers registering to care for and support people with a learning disability and/or autism are focused on delivering person-centred care in an environment that meets their individual needs and promotes their independence as far as possible.
“Our decision was made with this in mind and I am glad that the First-tier Tribunal has recognised that and agreed with us. This is very positive news for people with a learning disability and/or autism and their families who need to have confidence that the commitments set out in Transforming Care are delivered.”
Earlier this month, CQC issued statutory guidance for providers, called ‘Registering the right support’, which set out its confirmed position on the sort of providers supporting people with a learning disability and/or autism and/or behaviour that it would be minded to register.