Tracking how care standards across the country have changed is a powerful tool for any care investor, director or provider. Having a clear overview of the rise and fall in care home ratings is a vital resource when it comes to assessing the competition and where the most investment may be needed to improve care performance. Our CQC Dashboard reveals the ups and downs in social care ratings from last year to inform new care investment decisions in 2023.
As we enter a new year for social care, understanding how certain regions have performed over the last 12 months can provide the knowledge that care investors, directors and providers need when it comes to shaping their strategy across 2023.
This can help to identify if more resources and support are needed to stand out against the competition, or where new investments can make an impact on improving the quality of care across England, to provide better standards for residents and protect commercials.
Using the latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) data, our experts have reviewed the trends and changes in care home ratings, to reveal the best and worst performing areas for social care performance between Q1 and Q4 in 2022.
The regional leaders for care
Three regions stood out as having maintained ‘Outstanding’ care across last year: the North East, London, and the South East. Of these, the North East saw a +0.1% increase in ‘Outstanding’ rated care homes – making it the only region with a positive uplift at the highest CQC rating level. It also experienced the largest decrease in care homes rated ‘Inadequate’, with 0.5% fewer care services in danger of being put into Special Measures since 2022 began. Meanwhile, London and the South East saw no change in ‘Outstanding’ care homes across the previous 12 months, upholding the best quality care standards for residents at these care services.
For ‘Good’ rated care homes, both London and the South West saw an increase between Q1 and Q4, at +1.20% and +0.2% respectively – whereas all other regions saw their ratings slip. This means that London ultimately had the most positive care trends across 2022, with 1.2% more care homes receiving a ‘Good’ rating and 1.7% fewer care homes receiving ‘Requires Improvement’.
A general increase in care that ‘Requires Improvement’
Sadly, the starkest trend appearing across English care services between Q1 and Q4 2022 is a nearly universal increase in ‘Requires Improvement’ CQC ratings. Save for London and the West Midlands, this impacted every other region in the country at an average increase of +0.82%. The worst affected was the East of England, which experienced a +2.2% increase in ‘Requires Improvement’ care homes, followed by the North West (+2%) and the North East (+1.7%).
Whilst it could be said this is an indicator of falling standards in social care provision across England, it’s important to note that nearly all regions also saw a fall in the number of care homes rated ‘Inadequate’ – suggesting an improvement in care quality at the lower end of performance, but tempered by the fall in ‘Good’ ratings, suggesting that the increase in ‘Requires improvement’ is also partly accounted for by reduced standards in formerly well-performing homes.
Interestingly, only London and West Midlands – the two regions which did not have an increase in ‘Requires Improvement’ – had more care homes rated ‘Inadequate’ across 2022, at +0.3% and +0.4% respectively. This shows that despite being a current leader in best-quality care performance, there can still be a disparity in the range of care quality on offered, making regular audits and checks a necessity for protecting and retaining CQC ratings.
Percentage change in care service ratings between Q1 and Q4 2022
|East of England||-0.20%||-0.70%||+2.20%||-0.10%|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||-0.10%||-0.50%||+1.00%||-0.30%|
The worst-affected region for care
Unfortunately, the hardest impacted region in England for care home ratings was the East, which saw some of the highest decreases in ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Good’ care homes, as well as the largest increase in ‘Requires Improvement’.
Overall, between Q1 and Q4 2022, the East of England experienced:
- 2% fewer care homes rated ‘Outstanding’
- 7% fewer care homes rated ‘Good’
- 2% more care homes rated ‘Requires Improvement’
Whilst this region felt the largest singular impact of current care challenges, it’s important to note that both the North East and North West had a large decrease in ‘Good’ rated care homes, and an equal increase in ‘Requires Improvement’ – making these areas prime candidates for where new investment and support may be needed.
If you want help improving or maintaining your rating, please get in touch for a free initial consultation.