Care home residents will be asked to rate their experience in an independent survey as a new approach to monitoring health and social care.
The move is backed by the Care Quality Commission which hopes for a future system where other agencies share responsibility for demonstrating the safety and quality of care services.
The CQC says it will take enforcement action where there is evidence of services failing, and it is expected to carry out more inspections of hospitals and care homes that do not show evidence of their performance. CQC however, will not be able to run the same intensity of checks at the more than 40,000 sites where care is offered.
David Behan, the CQC’s new chief executive, said: “How we regulate a small, three-bed home for people with autism, how we regulate a dental practice and how we regulate a multisite, multimillion-pound teaching hospital needs to be different.”
A group of leading care homes will commission the survey and it will be carried out next week by the polling firm Ipsos Mori and will cover 850 homes run by 13 operators. Residents and their families will be asked to rate various factors including staff, activities, privacy and to say whether they are happy at their home and whether they would recommend it. Results will be published early in 2013 and the process will be repeated next September, potentially involving many more of the 400,000 people in care homes.
David Behan said he had not seen the survey but that it was the kind of initiative needed from care providers to improve performance. He said the CQC need to approve the survey but “if this innovation comes off and it begins to work, and these providers begin to develop a reputation for quality, then more and more people across the system are going to start following their lead and we will need to develop the way that we work in accordance with that.”
The CQC has begun a three-month consultation on how it will operate in the period to 2016. David Behan acknowledged past failings and promised there would be change. He said, “we have just been through a period in which this organisation has been scrutinised probably more than any other in the public services for a good many year. One of the hallmarks of a high-performing organisation, which is what I intend us to be, is that it listens to what people are saying about it, it considers that – and then it acts.”