19 March 2004
Thousands of care homes in England are endangering their residents by failing to meet national standards on the handling and management of drugs, it emerged this week.
A report by the outgoing care home regulator, the National Care Standards Commission, found that 12% of homes for older people, 11% of those for young adults and 15% of children's homes, failed to meet standards such as monthly medication audits and regular updates of records.
The NCSC, which will be replaced by a new regulator – the Commission for Social Care Inspection – next month, found examples of poor practice, such as the wrong medication being given, poor recording of drugs administered, medicines stored insecurely or at the wrong temperature and inappropriate handling of drugs by untrained staff.
NCSC chair Anne Parker said: 'It is a matter of grave concern that 2,600 of the homes studied for this report failed to meet the medication standard. Mistakes in handling drugs and medicines can have serious and even life-threatening consequences.'