Know when to walk away

23 September 2019 – Blog by Caring Times Editor Geoff Hodgson

I think the Care Quality Commission really should abandon the practice of awarding quality ratings. I’ve said it before but I think it needs repeating because quality ratings are helping to drive the market in the wrong direction and exacerbating levels of unmet care needs among elderly people.

Lots of care home operators won’t agree with me; for them quality ratings have become part of the regulatory landscape and for those who have worked very hard to achieve a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating, they help a bit with marketing.

But I hold to the view that the regulator to should limit itself to policing a minimum, albeit quite high, standard which no care service must fall below, and leave the ratings game to the many websites and what have you which are already out there.

Imagine if MOT inspectors were to examine vehicles on five key areas: brakes, tyres, steering, suspension, engine condition (I think they might need six to encompass lights, wipers, etc) and award a rating for each so that some people would drive away in a car that was merely ‘adequate’, with maybe a couple of advisory notices. I can see the insurance companies rubbing their hands: all those claims they could decline because the owner had failed to notify them of a change in their rating. And would a car with terrific steering, properly adjusted headlights and faultless handling really be outstanding? It would be roadworthy and that’s all we need to know. So no, the Department of Transport’s regulatory division sensibly tells its inspectors to simply determine whether a car is roadworthy or not. CQC inspectors should simply determine if a care home is careworthy or not.

The benefits would be soon in coming; instead of being fixated on pleasing the regulator, the care home team could focus instead on pleasing their residents and operators might feel encouraged to broaden their provision to take in the modestly-heeled many rather than just the wealthy few.

Geoff Hodgson – Caring Times Editor

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