Anyone who discusses care provision knows that the system is just not working, not for the government, not for the local authority, not for the homes themselves and certainly not for the residents but no one wants to actually admit it, out loud, because that would mean having to do something about it. Instead there are various different bodies talking about how to improve things behind closed doors.
STOP I say, the system doesn’t just need improving it needs a complete rethink. It needs a group to sit down and design a good care system and only when that has been done can a plan be drawn up on how to achieve it and the costs involved. The idea of giving the local authority a lump of money each year for them to decide how best to spend it, is totally wrong and a poor use of money. Anyone with a little management experience knows the SMART theory, you need to work out the goal first, break it down into achievable steps, within an appropriate timescale. So why can’t government do the same?
When I say government I don’t just mean the Conservative party I mean all political parties because regardless of who is ‘in power’ now, such plans and decisions need everyone to agree that they can put it in place long term, with the commitment to pay for it.
Reading the latest results from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are grim, although there has been an improvement in numbers of better performing homes, the 2017 figures were poor so it shouldn’t be too hard to improve.
The 2018 report shows:
This means that there are still 298 homes across the country that are classed as Inadequate!
There is a stark difference in the quality of care homes, at a regional and local authority level, highlighted by the latest figures. The North West is the worst performing region in England when it comes to the proportion of satisfactory care homes, whilst London is the best performing region.
In this part of the country we do generally fair better. Dorset as a whole shows that 14.6% are in the Requires Improvement or Inadequate category whilst on a local authority level Poole has 17.5% and Bournemouth has 9.1% of homes within the category all of which have improved from 2017 results. These figures are the lowest within the South West region with only the Isles of Scilly doing any better they actually have zero homes that need improvement.
The question has to be that if it is possible to provide Outstanding and Good care in some homes why are we accepting anything less in others?
The cynic in me wonders whether it’s because the group of individuals that are being ‘looked after’ in the care home system, don’t have much of a voice and these days if you don’t shout loud enough then very few listen!
To finish on a more uplifting note having reviewed the CQC inspection reports for the region it was good to see that there are 7 care homes that were given an Outstanding rating overall in the 2018 report.
The CQC look at 5 different key categories:
Safety aspects of the home
How effective it is
How caring it is to residents
How responsive the home is in a number of areas
The leadership and management structure within the home
Based on results in these categories the homes are given an overall rating. There are several other homes that score Outstanding within one or more category but don’t quite make this rating overall.
I hope that the improvements seen in the latest report will continue. However to get the right care in all homes does require a rethink of current policy, otherwise this issue is only going to get worse.
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