Anna Wilkinson, instructed by the Care Quality Commission, successfully opposes tribunal appeal by care homeAnna Wilkinson
The Care Quality Commission, represented by Anna Wilkinson, was successful in opposing an appeal brought by the directors of Bleak House, which is a care home for people with learning disabilities based in Humberside.
The care home had a condition placed on their registration which meant they were allowed to accommodate a maximum of 19 residents. After completing a substantial extension they wanted permission to accommodate an additional 5 people with learning disabilities. CQC refused their application and the matter was appealed by the care home to the first tier tribunal.
The appeal focussed on whether the home could provide person-centred care if the number of people living there increased, in addition to whether CQC’s policy document “Registering the Right Support” was relevant when considering an application for people with learning disabilities as well as age related enhanced needs, whether there was any compelling reason to depart from that guidance and what “having regard” to such guidance meant.
The tribunal, after a 5 day hearing, agreed with CQC that the Appellant could not demonstrate that if the variation to their registration was granted they would be compliant with Regulation 9 (person centred care) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 or regulation 21 which states that registered providers must have regard to the guidance issued by the Commission under Section 23 of the Act, for the purposes of compliance with the requirements set out in the Regulations.
This case shows that providers of homes for people with learning disabilities should be careful when considering planning or building extensions in order to increase the number of residents they can accommodate. Providers should ensure that they have considered relevant guidance and policy, including the Care Quality Commissions own policy “Registering the Right Support” and the research and documentation which underpins it, before spending considerable sums of money on any such development. Registered providers would be wise to make contact with the regulator’s registration team when considering applying for any such changes to their registration prior to commencing any works.
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Anna Wilkinson is a member of the specialist regulatory advocate panel and has an established practice in a variety of regulatory and disciplinary work.Anna has undertaken numerous cases on behalf of both CQC and care home owners and has been instrumental in defending Notices of Proposal and Notices of Decisions at tribunal hearings. Anna is familiar with appeals regarding notices of cancelation of registration and is experienced in dealing with the issues which arise in such cases, including the cross examination of expert witnesses in areas such as occupational therapy and medicine management. Anna is also familiar with the principals of the CQC policy “registering the right support” and has successfully dealt with cases involving increases of service users.