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09 Dec 2021

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A happy paradox?

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

A friend of mine had been looking for a care home in which his elderly mother might like to live. I gave him some tips on what to look for when visiting a prospective facility, told him about CQC ratings and referred him to a care home review website. Last week he told me his mum had moved into a care home he had found, just a 20-minute drive from where he lived. Here’s the gist of our conversation:

Friend: “It’s a bit old, built in the ’60s I imagine but everyone’s very friendly and caring. Mum seems happy; I think she’s accepted that she can’t live at home anymore.”

Me: “And the CQC rating?” (I’d done my own research and knew the answer to this but I was curious to see if my friend had made the effort).

Friend: “It’s rated ‘Good’ but it ‘Required Improvement’ in the safety area. It all looked OK to me; maybe they had had an incident and got marked down for that. I did as you suggested and compared it to an ‘Outstanding’ home, but the nearest one to us is a lot further away, a lot more expensive and anyway, it’s full! It was never going to be an option for us.”

I suspect this is a common scenario and it reinforces my long held conviction that quality ratings awarded by the regulator are a nonsense. The idea of an ‘Outstanding’ rating is particularly illogical; if, as we would all wish, many more care homes achieved an outstanding rating, then they would, by definition, no longer be ‘outstanding’ and CQC would have to raise the bar ever higher.

A happy paradox perhaps, but it does seem to pander to the marketing strategies of the top-end providers who cater for the well-heeled private-pay market. Which is perhaps why quality ratings draw so little criticism from that quarter.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

2 Replies to “A happy paradox?”

  1. And how much have we spent on this nonsense? How much has it distorted the purpose of social care? How many people who should have known better have gone along with it? How much longer do we have to endure the disgrace of running social care to comply with the ignorant dictates of this thoroughly uncaring “regulator”? We’ve had nearly 20 years and it has never worked. They don’t listen; they don’t discuss; they lie and they go on covering up their mistakes. The evidence is overwhelming. Time for all of you who’ve colluded and played the game to stand up and be counted.

  2. John, only those who have spent the past few decades living in a cave in the Hindu Kush will be unfamiliar with your position on the national care regulator. However, I doubt that your intemperate language – of which this is only the latest example – will persuade the “guilty” parties of what you so obviously consider to be the error of their ways. Theresa May was not my favourite politician, but she was right on the money when she used the final address of her premiership to call out those who are “losing the ability to disagree without demeaning the views of others”. Cool it, John.

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