Families will be able to review, rate and compare care services across England through an online government service, launched today.
The NHS Choices website is designed to carry comprehensive information on every registered care service in England to help families make choices about provision.
The site carries basic information on all services in England, including services offered and latest Care Quality Commission reports; many providers have also submitted their own information on their services, such as staff profiles and more detailed information on provision.
Families can post reviews on the site while, from next month, they will be able to post their own “star ratings” of services on the site. Later this year, the CQC will launch a new quality ratings system for care services, and ratings will be added to the site when available. Providers are able to respond to critical comments.
The NHS Choices site already contains information on health services and received about 27 million visits last month.
Its extension to social care fulfils a pledge in last year’s care White Paper. Care services minister Norman Lamb said today that the service would “leave bad care [with] nowhere to hide”, but said it was still “a work in progress”. The Department of Health wants providers who are yet to add supplementary details to their profiles to do so.
Alongside provider profiles, the site also includes more general information on social care and on choosing services, covering issues such as finance, different types of care and the role of informal carers.
The site raises questions about the future of other care comparison websites run on a commercial basis; some of these charge providers to enhance their profile, a service that is free on the NHS Choices website.
However, a number of these sites have allowed their reviews to be posted on the NHS Choices site, including the Social Care Institute for Excellence’s Find Me Good Care, the Good Care Guide, the Better Care Guide, Trusted Care and Your Care Home.
An example of a completed profiles on NHS Choices