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CQC: To rate or not to rate?
The newly appointed CQC Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Andrea Sutcliffe, will make developing a ratings system for homecare inspections a priority in her first few months of post.
The CQC stopped running their quality ratings system on 30th June 2010. You may recall it was a Four Star rating system –
- 0 - poor;
- 1 - adequate;
- 2 - good and;
- 3 - excellent.
Since June 2010, the method of inspection has changed to a ‘themed’ programme looking at how the service provider meets specific standards, sectors and /or types of care.
Under this programme, providers are either rated compliant or non-complaint. This may change when Andrea Sutcliffe reviews the current arrangements.
I am all in favour of a return to a ratings system, but I am aware of the negatives as well as the positives it will bring. I believe the current system is unfair to providers that strive for excellence in care, those who go over and above for their clients and their care staff alike. Under the current system, these type of providers are being rated as Compliant, but so is the provider down the road that may have just scraped through. Yes, their report may read differently, but fundamentally the result is the same.
I recognise that a grading system is subjective. I have experienced inspectors who will ask a question and when you answer, quite happily take your word for it. I have experienced others who will ask a question, hear your answer then request evidence of your reply.
That being said, I do believe that ratings are incredibly important to the industry and how it is inspected. The reports from inspectors are publicly available from the CQC website. I often check out reports from the local competition as a measure of how we are doing and how we can improve. It is a source of good practice. Above all, these reports are an excellent indication to potential customers and their families of how a provider is performing and the values that they hold.
Those providers that do just ‘make the mark’ should not be judged against those who spend each hour of every day dedicating themselves to improving their service for their clients, striving to be the ‘Man United’ of the Homecare Premier League.
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