Care provider ratings on the up but CQC warns poorer services

The quality of adult care providers across England improved from 2008-9 however the Care Quality Commission has warned under-performing services to improve urgently.

In a report today, which examined providers’ performance against the national minimum standards and the CQC’s quality ratings system, the regulator said 77% of services were rated good under the quality ratings in April 2009, up from 69% in May 2008.

The biggest improvements were in care homes for older people where the proportion of good or excellent services rose from 67% to 76%. However, performance overall was better in homes for younger adults (82% good or excellent, up from 76%), while the proportion of good or excellent-rated home care agencies rose from 73% to 76%.

Performance against the national minimum standards rose for the sixth successive year with 86% of standards met or exceeded on average, up from 84% last year.

Cynthia Bower warns poorer performers

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said she was pleased with the improvements but said she was concerned “that many care homes and agencies have more to do to deliver the quality of care expected of them”.

Referring to the new regulations and registration system governing care providers due to come into force in October 2010, Bower added: “Those affected should be absolutely clear that we will be very persistent in ensuring they take action in the run up to registration and afterwards, using all the new powers that will be at our disposal.”

Performance remained relatively weak in record keeping and the provision of care plans for service users, despite improvements in the latter area.

Two-thirds of older people’s homes met or exceeded standards in relation to record keeping – a similar proportion to 2008 – while 69% met or exceeded standards on service user plans. Though this represents an increase from 62% in 2008 it was lower than performance in all other areas, apart from record keeping.

Care plans weakest area for home care agencies

Among home care providers, 75% met or exceeded standards on service user plans, up from two-thirds in 2008, but this was still their worst performing area.

Council in-house providers were found to have overtaken voluntary sector providers in terms of quality with 87% receiving a good or excellent rating, up from 79% in 2008. This was true of 86% of voluntary services, up from 80% in 2008, and 74% of privately-run services, up from 66% in 2008.

The report was launched alongside the commission’s analysis of the performance of councils in their adult care responsibilities, which found authorities had improved for the seventh successive year.

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