An Assembly candidate has called for the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) to go further in efforts to improve their inspection approach.
Alliance Party representative Stewart Dickson was responding to news of a public consultation launched by the regulatory body.
Mr Dickson had previously alleged failings in the RQIA’s inspection process in relation to Carrickfergus nursing home, Cherry Tree House.
One proposed changeby RQIA is to present a summary of the inspection results on the front cover of their reports, enabling readers to see key findings from each inspection “at a glance”.
“I welcome RQIA’s movement towards plain English summarising the outcomes of their reports, which can often be difficult to read and technical in nature,” Mr Dickson said. “However, this is only a drop in the ocean in dealing with the problems that RQIA continues to suffer.
He claimed: “I have seen official reports that describe nursing homes as ‘unsatisfactory’ and ‘requiring improvement’, but the RQIA fails to follow up on these to ensure improvement.
“The proposed changes to reports will do little to improve care, if the RQIA is not prepared to actually take action after discovering unsatisfactory conditions.
“I note that the Department of Health is undertaking a full review of the workings of RQIA, and hope that in the future we can have a social care regulator fit for purpose, with the powers and confidence to protect those in care.”
The proposed changes are part of a programme of continuous improvement, according to RQIA chief executive, Glenn Houston. “At some stage in their lives, most people across Northern Ireland will use, or will have a family member who uses, one of these health and social care services,” he said.
“For the past year, in our inspections we have assessed whether care in these services is safe, effective and compassionate. During 2016, RQIA proposes to build on this approach to include examination of the quality of leadership within services.”
The consultation is available at www.rqia.org.uk and will continue until the end of April 2016.