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Is the CQC’s new approach to inspections bearing fruit?

On the 24th October we published an article regarding the new inspection methods from the Care Quality Commission and their updated rating system. This involves answering 5 questions called ‘key lines of enquiry’ during an inspection which will be used to guide the inspector on their visits as well as descriptions of what the standard of care should reflect for each of the following ratings: Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate.

All establishments rated ‘inadequate’ are placed in special measures where they are offered support to help them improve standards of care within a year. If they fail to make these improvements the establishment may then face closure.

Since the new rating system was put into place there has been more than 20 social care services labelled “inadequate”. Out of a total 350 social care services that were rated before the recent batch of results

  • 245 (70%) were rated ‘good’,
  • 81 (23%) as ‘requires improvement’
  • 24 (7%) were revealed as ‘inadequate’

On the other hand, the first 38 acute hospitals that were inspected by the CQC revealed that only 9 (24%) were rated ‘good’, a massive 24 (63%) were shown as ‘requires improvement’ and 5 (13%) ‘Inadequate’.

As the rating results are available to the public, the CQC are therefore providing information to those looking for care on the places to avoid. This means that families are reassured that they’re placing their loved ones in a safe trusting environment.

When looking at the emerging ratings for other care services, the CQC says it remains early days for the new system.

Mental health care

  • 4 services were rated ‘good’,
  • 4 requiring improvement
  • 1 ‘inadequate’

Primary care

  • 11 GP practices were rated ‘good’
  •  6 rated as ‘requires improvement’

There are some arguments stating that the large size of acute trusts is affecting their overall rating as one bad assessment for a department could result in receiving a lower rating across the board. This issue wouldn’t apply to smaller care institutions or domiciliary services.

Another issue has been brought to light regarding acute trusts, as when the hospitals were first selected for rating, the CQC’s decision was “slightly more weighted towards those that presented a higher risk” (quote from CQC spokesperson in recent Guardian article), and therefore these were targeted first, making them an easy target for the inadequate labelling and showing alarming statistics.

Hopefully, over time the statistics will even out as more trusts are rated and trends will begin to appear, making information more credible and the real success of the new rating system clear. However so far the CQC are providing a safer environment for people in care and creating awareness of the trusts that are struggling to keep up with higher standards of care.

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