The big news today seems to the publication of the annual performance assessments from the CQC (Care Quality Commission). The results can be read in two ways as is evident from the headlines resulting from this publication – from Community Care’s ‘Councils improve for the seventh year running in adult care’ headline to the Guardian’s ‘Nearly 4,000 adult services criticised over level of care provided’
The obvious conclusion being, things are still pretty awful but not as awful as they were..
Obviously there is a need for inspections and reports, otherwise we would be completely clueless about what is going on within services however I am far from alone in my lack of faith in the rating systems, certainly those that I have had most experience with in residential services.
Meanwhile, as services generally improve across the board, eight councils were particularly ‘named and shamed’ as they were told to improve services, namely
Bromley, Cornwall, Peterborough, Poole, Solihull, South Tyneside, Southwark, and Surrey and particularly, according to the Guardian, Peterborough and Poole, were designated as “poor” in terms of the dignity and respect shown to individuals dependent on their care.
All eight councils will be subject to further scrutiny by the CQC.
I, of course, checked my own council and the reports are positive, I’m glad to say, but that pretty much goes along with my experiences to be honest. I think there are improvements to be made, particularly regarding commissioning of services which I think has some appalling gaps and the direct payments/individual budgets services which have been poor in take up or promotion to older people with higher level care packages, but hopefully, the roll out of the personalisation agenda will increase these levels. These weren’t factors picked up through the inspection however.
The process of inspection is under the microscope for a number of reasons currently and there seems to be an increasing lack of faith in public sector inspection processes, from OFSTED and the quality of their inspections to the NHS rating system. Inspections should focus on qualitative more than quantitive data.
But although criticism is necessary to evaluate the outcomes for those people who are reliant on care services, if there has been a general improvement across the board, that should be welcomed.
On a more heartening matter, the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) ruled that athletes with intellectual difficulties (or learning disabilities as we would refer to them in the UK) have been re-included into the Paralympic Games. This is slightly old news as it broke last week but I missed it at the time and as an issue that I always felt strongly about, it comes as very welcome news.
I hope very much to be able to support these paralympic athletes when they come to London in 2012!