CORDER’S COLUMN: In search of Outstanding operators

Rob Corder

Schools inspector Ofsted provides a useful comparison tool that allows parents to search for the best schools in their local area.

The Care Quality Commission is equally rigorous in publishing inspection reports for all care homes in England.

Comparing schools and care homes is not only important to people that want to find the best service providers in their areas, they are also vital to drive up standards and highlight best and worst practice within the industries being inspected.

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The CQC has done an admirable job of tightening its inspection criteria and holding care home operators to the highest standard.

However, digging through the hundreds of inspection reports to find the very best homes for elderly relatives is made too difficult because there are so few homes given the coveted Outstanding rating.

This is not new, and is understandable in an era when there have been unwelcome headlines about failures in care homes. The last thing the industry wants is another scandal caught on mobile phone video cameras.

Nobody wants homes to fail their residents but I hope that in time the CQC is able to publish details of more Outstanding homes.

In a list released last week of 108 care homes inspected in the Central region, not a single residence was deemed Outstanding, while over 80% were rated as Good.

Compare this to Ofsted reports on schools. I did a search on primary and secondary schools in Leicester and the surrounding 25 mile radius. Out of 1313 schools inspected, a healthy 189 were rated Outstanding, 655 were Good, 191 Required Improvement and 20 were Inadequate.

That means 14.4% of schools were rated Outstanding, and will deservedly be the first choice of people for their children.

The same people searching for an outstanding care home for their elderly parents have no choice at all, and must dig through the details of the 80% of homes rated Good to work out which is quite good and which is very good.

It should not happen overnight, and the CQC should not weaken its inspection criteria, but I would like to see a plan so that the percentage of Good care homes shrinks as more achieve the Outstanding rating.

A minimum of 10% rated Outstanding would make the achievement more meaningful, not less.

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One Comment;

  1. Ralph Holland said:

    I couldn’t agree more. What is the purpose of a classification when the likelihood of living near an Outstanding provider is virtually nil?
    I think some tough questions need to be put to Anrdea Sutcliffe to justify to the puplic what the Commission think they are doing, because I believe that the Commission are failing the public with a meaningless classification with the way things stand at the moment.

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