From this year care providers in England will no longer receive star ratings as part of a shake-up of the system by the Care Quality Commission.
The commission is launching a consultation on the future of quality ratings for services and how far it should modify the existing system of awarding between zero and three stars.
Chief executive Cynthia Bower said a new system for registering providers would be introduced in October.
Star ratings, introduced in 2008, related to the existing registration system, Bower said, and needed to be revised: “I’ve talked to providers, commissioners and our own staff about the star ratings and they have very strong views on the system and its worth. So rather than making an assumption that people wanted to see that system going forward we thought it made more sense to ask what represents excellence now the registration system has changed.”
While she made clear that some form of ratings system for providers was likely to be retained, she said the CQC may not be the body that awards ratings in future.
The commission plans to outline options for the future of quality ratings in September this year but a final decision is not expected until April 2011.
Services would retain their star rating as of October 2010 until the introduction of any new system, under the CQC’s plans.
Des Kelly, executive director of voluntary providers’ umbrella body the National Care Forum, said: “The idea of a rating system is good but you have to have confidence that the system is consistent and that whoever does the assessment the service will get the same rating.” He said this was not presently the case.
Kelly added that the present system meant it took a long time for services to improve their rating as many are only inspected every two or three years.
The finding follows concerns that services would struggle to meet deadlines after the CQC admitted making administrative errors that delayed some providers receiving notice to register.