The Orders Of St. John Care Trust (21 016 719)

Category : Adult care services > Residential care

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 28 Mar 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about staffing levels at a care home. The Care Quality Commission is the regulator of care services and is better placed to consider the concerns.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complained about reduced staffing levels at a care home compared to pre-pandemic levels. He says this impacts safety and standard of care which no longer reflects how much they pay for his mother’s (Mrs Y’s) care. He says the Care Provider has been dismissive of his concerns and has not taken them seriously. Mr X wants an independent review of staffing levels and safety, an increase in staff to resident ratios and a reduction in care fees.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Ombudsman investigates complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start or may decide not to continue with an investigation if we decide:
  • any injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement, or
  • there is another body better placed to consider this complaint.

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. Mr X says the family chose the care home because it had good ratios of staff to residents, and this was reflected in standards of care and residents’ wellbeing. He says staffing levels have reduced, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Mr X has reported his concerns to the Care Quality Commission (CQC). This is the appropriate route for his concerns about staffing levels to be considered. CQC is the regulator of social care and considers whether care providers are working in line with the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. Regulation 18 relates to having appropriate staffing levels.
  3. Mr X says residents’ safety and wellbeing has been put at risk by staffing levels. However, he does not indicate there have been instances of actual harm caused. In the absence of a significant injustice to Mrs Y, there is not a good reason for us to investigate this individual complaint and CQC is the appropriate body to consider the care home’s staffing levels.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because the Care Quality Commission is better placed to consider his concerns.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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