CQC published its annual ‘State of Care’ Report today which focuses on the adult social care sector and provides some interesting insights into the sector over the past year.
For the first time, CQC has been able to analyse the findings of its new ratings system across all of the sectors it regulates. The analysis has shown that the overwhelming majority (85%) of services were providing ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ care but issues remained around the question of ‘safety’ with (10%) of services rated inadequate. The report states that safety is CQC’s biggest concern. This is why it is important to ensure that each service has the right staffing levels and appropriate skill mix of staff.
The report highlights the positive work done in the sector by providers who have noted and made improvements following adverse inspections being reported. There is, as always, a cherry-picking of data to reflect CQC’s own thoughts on its inspection work. For example, the statistic that shows improvement in services following a reinspection isn’t necessarily one to be highlighted as only 123 reinspections took place within the year the report is based on. This is to be countered against the total number of inspections that took place throughout the year which totalled over 5000. To really analyse the effectiveness of an inspection having improved a service one would have to assess this over a greater period of time. Whilst the data is of course accurate from the CQC the significance of the data is questionable when drawing conclusions on the sector as a whole.
The report is also interesting in the sense that it spans over two different regulatory regimes – pre and post April 2015. Enforcement action has increased which may demonstrate CQC’s concerted effort to clampdown on instances of poor care.
The report also highlights the correlation between the leadership of the service being almost inextricably linked to the overall outcome of the rating of the service. 94% of services rated ‘outstanding’ in leadership were also ‘outstanding’ overall and conversely 84% of services rated inadequate overall were also inadequate for the leadership question.
The importance of having a sound evidence base and excellent record keeping systems is raised within the report across all services. It is noted that without accurate records in relation to the provision of care across settings learning and improvement will be hindered across the sector.
The report is essential reading for anyone involved in the care sector to gain an understanding of the regulator’s thoughts and approach.