Delays in care home inspection requires 'urgent action'
7 January 2013 Last updated at 08:17 GMT
A BBC Inside Out investigation has discovered that despite increasing abuse allegations in care homes, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is behind on its inspections.
Gary Fitzpatrick, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse, says there is a need for "urgent and robust action" to tackle the delays in inspections.
Inside Out discovered that last year in Essex alone there were 299 proven cases of abuse in care homes, double the previous year's figure.
It also found some care homes are not being inspected regularly to check if they are meeting standards.
The CQC promises to inspect every home at least once a year but now it says that it cannot guarantee this will happen.
The CQC told the BBC that "where people are at immediate risk we can use our urgent powers".
Inside Out East is broadcast on BBC One on Monday, 7 January at 19:30 GMT and nationwide on the iPlayer for seven days thereafter.