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Care homes improve performance following CQC ‘Inadequate’ rating

Nearly three-quarters of care homes rated ‘Inadequate’ by the CQC in the past two years have subsequently improved their performance.

New analysis from the healthcare inspection body shows that out of 373 care homes rated inadequate between 1 October 2014 and 31 March 2016, 273 (73%), with 12,000 residents in total, have since improved their rating.

However, 205 are still rated as ‘requires improvement’ and only 68 are now rated ‘good’, while 99 had not improved their rating and 34 had been closed down by the CQC or the provider.

Andrea Sutcliffe, the CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, said: “I welcome the improvements we have seen during our re-inspections of care homes that were originally rated as Inadequate. Real change does not happen overnight – the improved ratings are a testament to the time, effort and determination of providers, their managers and their staff. This is good news for the people who use their services who have every right to expect care we would be happy for a loved one to receive.

“While services that have moved to requires improvement are heading in the right direction, I am clear that this is still not good enough and providers cannot afford to be complacent. Evidence of consistent practice and sustainability is what we are looking for, to ensure people always get the good care they deserve.

“Ultimately, if services cannot or will not improve for the benefit of people they are paid to support, then quite frankly there is no place for them in the care sector. As the regulator, we will be vigilant and will not hesitate to use our powers to put a stop to poor standards of care being provided if necessary.

“But what I really want is for great care to become the norm. That is why CQC inspects and rates services, so we can share information about those services that are getting it right, and identify those services where CQC is tackling poor care so the process of driving forward improvement can begin.

“I recognise the stresses and strains being felt in the sector, but through working together, good quality care is what everyone must strive for. Most importantly, and as this latest analysis demonstrates, it can be done.”

Services which improved their rating from ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’ included Acorn Care Home in Birmingham, where concerns were raised about a number of areas including residents’ risk of unsafe care and abuse; and Precinct Road home for adults with learning disabilities in Middlesex.

Emily Holzhausen, director of policy at Carers UK, said that many carers rely on residential care as a ‘back-up’ to allow them a break from responsibilities.

She said that while the results of the report were “encouraging”, many carers would still “remain concerned” the lack of consistently good care.

The CQC has recently admitted that it may struggle to complete its programme of inspecting all care providers if it faces an unexpected crisis.

Its five-year strategy, published yesterday, proposed more targeted unannounced inspections of struggling providers.

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