That is the test being promoted by the new Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Andrea Sutcliffe. But what does it actually mean for operators in the care sector, service users and their families?
Adult Social Care includes residential care, care in an individual’s own home, community based services for those with disabilities, extra care housing focusing on dementia sufferers, shared living schemes, supported living and hospices. Whilst the provision of care underlies each of these, they are also distinct in their own right. Add in personalisation of social care and a ‘one size fits all’ seems almost impossible to achieve. CQC acknowledge that they must inspect and regulate in a manner that meets the different needs of those who use such services.
CQC will look at operators’ service delivery and assess that against the 5 key questions; is the service safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led?If high quality compassionate care that is safe is not being provided and operators are not striving to improve and provide outstanding service then operators will not be delivering against those CQC principles.
The new regulatory approach that CQC are developing is designed to deliver care that satisfies their requirements. Although still used on occasion, the old star ratings have been obsolete since 2010. New ratings will identify operators as outstanding, good, requiring improvement or as inadequate/poor. The rating achieved will determine the success of operators. Families wil wish to know that their loved ones receive the best care, not only on inspection days but every day they are the recipients of such care.
It is beholden upon all operators, service users, their families and other stakeholders to participate in the CQC consultation being conducted in Spring 2014 to ensure that their views on the expected standards and ratings are taken into account. Mystery shoppers, spy cameras and gut feeling are just some of the things operators and service users may have to grapple with. There are both benefits and risks; all of which will have to be balanced against human rights, privacy laws and dignity requirements.