CQC Propose To Change Care Home Ratings Without Inspecting – Comment From Royds Withy King

A Care Quality Commission consultation on a new regime of regulating care providers will close on 23 March. It proposes a radical reform of care home assessments, including the prospect of changes to ratings without inspections.

The proposals are potentially worrying, warns social care lawyers Royds Withy King, and care providers should ensure their voice is heard by responding to the CQC’s consultation.

Mei-Ling Huang, Partner in the Social Care team at Royds Withy King comments.

“The consultation is in two parts and there are elements in both that will concern care providers.

“Part one points to a move away from comprehensive inspections as a way of assessing quality and awarding ratings. Assessments and ratings will be updated more regularly based on user feedback, local data and insight from third parties.

“Part two, whilst brief, will have long-lasting implications as CQC proposes to do away with future large-scale formal consultations, preferring instead to use ‘alternative ways’ of gathering feedback.

“Care providers will be rightly concerned that assessments and ratings may change without any formal assessment. User feedback is important but can be unreliable: some residents may not have the capacity to respond to questions from CQC and disgruntled staff may have ulterior motives when providing feedback. The CQC does not propose any way to gauge the credibility of this type of feedback, but a care home’s entire reputation will be staked upon it.

“Care providers will also want to know which third parties and what local data CQC will turn to when assessing a care home, and how the CQC can ensure its reliability. The consultation is light on detail and that is concerning.

“That it may be one of the last industry-wide consultations is also of concern. The CQC proposes the use of focus groups when considering further changes. A less formal consultation may suit the CQC but will be less informative for providers, creating a further imbalance of power between the regulator and those it regulates.

“We would urge all care providers to make sure their voice is heard before 23 March”

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