If only – fingers crossed

Care Quality Commission



Newcastle upon Tyne


Telephone: 03000 616161

Fax: 03000 616171



Mr Max Procaccini

By Email

23 July 2014

Care Quality Commission

Your email correspondence


Reference: ENQ1-14860

Dear Mr Procaccini

Thank you for your email dated 18 June 2014 where you raised concerns about Ealing Social Services and also about the standard of service that has been provided by the five domiciliary care agencies commissioned to provide a service to your mother, Mrs Maggini.

As you know we regulate individual health and social care providers and do not regulate the social services departments of local authorities. We note that you had complained to the Local Government Ombudsman about this matter in your attempt to address your dissatisfaction with the services provided by Ealing Social Services.

I note your point about the domiciliary care agencies which have equally provided staff who were “extremely poorly trained, not supervised and many don’t even understand English.”

In reply to this point I can say that the CQC has been aware for some time that a lot of providers, including domiciliary care agencies do what they can to comply with legislation with no real incentive to improve and provide an excellent service. This was because they were assessed as either compliant or non-compliant with standards and regulations. From 1 October 2014 we will introduce a performance rating and we will actively report on the quality of services. It will no longer be just a matter of compliance or non-compliance with standards and regulations but a matter of how good providers are at providing a service in relation to five key questions: how safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led the service is?

This will also be an opportunity for providers to demonstrate how good their service is and to differentiate themselves from other providers. It will also provide an incentive for the average performers to improve the service they provide and for those who are good providers to innovate and further improve their service to be recognised as leaders within their field. As a result people using services and their relatives will have more information to choose services according to how good they are and be more aware of expectations from providers.

Other initiatives to improve the quality of adults social care people using services receive and to be introduced by the CQC include ‘The Mum’s Test’ and the recently announced special measures where services could be placed in, if they fail to make the required improvements.

I note that we last emailed you on the 10 July 2014 advising you that your concerns would be passed to the compliance team and asking for specific information about the service providers who were involved in the care of Mrs Maggini.  We would still be happy to hear from you about any individual service provider so we can plan any regulatory action, if this is required or use the information to plan our inspections.

Whilst this letter will not resolve your current position, we hope that you will be reassured that we have noted your concerns. We would also like to wish Mrs Maggini and you the very best for the future.

If you have any questions you can contact our National Contact Centre using the details below:


Telephone:    03000 616161


Email:             enquiries@cqc.org.uk


Write to:          CQC HSCA Registration



Newcastle upon Tyne


Yours sincerely

Ram Sooriah

Inspection Manager (Interim)





“OUR” policies to do nothing.


  1. Mr Steve Shrubb (Chief Executive West London Mental Health Trust)
  2. Mr Jamie Reed MP
  3. Rt Hon Paul Burstow MP

Dear Sirs,

I fully understand that CQC policies have been set to safeguard the public best interest. Of course – there is probably no fool-proof system for doing this and I vaguely remember a telephone conversation with a CQC area manager who said that the complaints are too many and the resources too limited for it to be any other way. We are however talking about the dignity and welfare of human beings – us.

Remembering some of the many victims of malpractice and negligence such Victoria Climbié, Muriel Price and  Gloria Foster, is only a sad reminder that these ‘unfortunate casualties’ have been failed by the system. Low quality care and high doses of negligence are currently making the lives of many clients and carers alike extremely difficult. In some cases these victims also live in fear – for their lives and their jobs.

The last care agency to look after my mother was Lean On Me Community Care Services, Northolt, Middlesex. I can categorically state that, apart from one good care agency, the other four that  have also looked after my mother have proved to be a total disgrace to the trade. Most carers with whom I have worked did not speak English. One of the agencies has my hand-writing in a carer’s application as I had  to do the English test on her behalf – at the time there was no other option – as it was that or receive no care at all. This loophole is open for all the other carers too: it may well be common place for carers to have their families and friends fill in the test for them. This also means that carers cannot be trained – not proficiently anyway. If they do not speak English it means that they also do not understand English. As I have explained in the past this often results in a substandard service and one which has the potential to severely endanger the lives of care clients – especially given the relationship between carers’ fluency in reading English and the provision of vital and/or dangerous medication to clients. Even the basic hygiene and workplace safety standards have hardly ever been met by many of the carers with whom I have worked. The many incidents and general sub-standard service I have received has been repeatedly reported to Ealing Council. Just a quick reminder that we are talking about human lives here – about vulnerable people’s wellbeing and dignity. Instead of only looking at complaints as alarm bells (which is why Gloria Foster died) Ealing Council failed on every single occasion and it was two years before I was able to persuade anyone to even investigate or take action on my many complaints.

While the worrying concern is that the frail elderly are left on their own to suffer terrifying acts of abuse, it is also worth noting that I have passed on my findings to others in the industry. For instance, a researcher, assessor and academic tutor in the field of Health & Social Care and Childcare at the City of London Business College has been utterly dismayed to read my long list of complaints as she has been made aware that what she preaches and teaches is no longer an accurate reflection of reality.
It is entirely wrong of us to accuse any one agency in specific as the CQC has been copied in on many occasions regarding previous serious incidents across a range of agencies and these complaints have been ignored on all fronts. There is seriously a rotten system set up out there for many carers and care agencies. It is also wrong to point the finger at carers in specific – the truth is that incompetent carers should not be recruited in the first place. Those who are should be trained properly. And those who are neither competent or properly trained still have to work in a very stressful environment without the proper professional support from the agencies by whom they are employed. When the paying rate is often set at £6 per hour (+ tax) it is of no surprise that the work is given to (sometimes illegal) immigrants who are often unable to complain about their conditions or find work elsewhere. The reader must also remember that even a twelve hour shift is made of many hours unpaid for commuting. As I am sure you know: the real blame lies with the coordinators of this failing system.

I am under the impression that it is the duty of the CQC to take action on this point.

Here we are… We are giving the lives of our loved ones (and soon these will be our lives too) into the hands of a system that cares only about budgeting and money-making. A system that doesn’t care at all for the fundamental rights of the elderly. A system that offers them neither dignity or respect.

 Yours sincerely