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CQC Market Report highlights the need to challenge negative care sector perceptions
Date of article: 02-Jul-12
Article By: Richard Howard, News Editor
Last week saw England’s care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) release its first Market Report, based on the results of 14,000 unannounced care provider inspections.
The detailed report outlined numerous concerns regarding failings in care provision and recorded that almost one-fifth of providers need to improve in order to meet essential standards. However, many care sector professionals reflected that the figures are far less drastic than the impression of care industry performance that is often portrayed in the general media.
Martin Green (pictured), chief executive of the English Community Care Association (ECCA), was among those who took exception to the plethora of negative headlines posted in response to the Report, saying:
“The CQC Market Report presents a picture of a sector that is functioning well despite the enormous pressures on resources and poor quality commissioning. Regardless of the fact that the report paints a fairly positive picture of the sector, all the headlines have been negative. This raises some serious questions about how the CQC presents the report and what messages they feed into the media.
“There is a tendency for the Government’s Arms-Length Bodies to frame every single piece of media information in the negative because they play to the media’s agenda of, ‘good news is no news’ there is a need for this to be challenged and for organisations to present the real story rather than the one the media wants to hear.”
Chief executive of Voyage Care Bruce McKendrick, the UK’s fifth largest care home provider, welcomed the contribution the Market Report could potentially make towards future performance, saying: “We recognise that the CQC performs an essential role and we’re hopeful its new quarterly market reports will help raise standards across the sector.
“Quality is something we take very seriously at Voyage and providing the best possible person centred care for the individuals we support is at the heart of everything we do. We believe our approach is entirely aligned with the CQC’s and we welcome a strong regulator that operates a level playing field and is working hard to ensure consistently improving standards of care, whether you’re a charity, NHS Trust or independent provider.”
Richard Furze, CEO of charity Friends of the Elderly, also responded positively, though would like the scope of future market reports to be more expansive:
"While we can only comment usefully on the adult social care component of the report, overall it is presenting a reasonably encouraging picture of the sector. However, the report mainly sets out the statistics without in depth comment other than in the area of medication management. The standards assessed are arguably not of equal importance to the quality of lives of residents / clients which is, after all, the key point.
"In the future we would like to see more emphasis given to the views of residents / clients, who the CQC say are becoming more important in the way they carry out their inspections. It would be helpful also to have comment in future on inspections of the way in which people with dementia are being supported in adult social care given the importance and specialist nature of this field and the increasing numbers of people it covers."
However, Age UK charity director Michelle Michelle felt the report reaffirmed the need for urgent reform, saying: “This report shows that thousands of vulnerable and frail older people are receiving unacceptable standards of social care.
“As the Government continues to prevaricate over funding and reform, the system of social care in England has reached breaking point – hitting the frailest, poorest and most vulnerable older and disabled people the hardest.
“Age UK calls on the Government to stick to the Coalition Agreement and publish the Social Care White Paper and Funding Progress Report without delay.”
(The CQC Market Report was reported on by carehome.co.uk on the 28th June:www.carehome.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1557354/cqc-publishes-first-market-report-on-the-performance-of-health-and-social-care-providers)