Monitoring the ups, downs and regional developments of care homes across the country is a valuable resource for care home investors, directors and providers. Tracking quarterly shifts in care performance nationally can reveal key indicators of where new trends are emerging, how the competition is faring and where new investment may be needed to promote a better quality of care for residents. Our CQC Dashboard provides the answers you need for informed decisions in the next quarter.
With the Care Quality Commission (CQC) due to change the way it assesses and reviews care home ratings and performance, the upcoming Single Assessment Framework (SAF) may generate greater accuracy in regional trends as data becomes a key requirement for care home operators to evidence their compliance.
More accurate information is something we welcome, as data is a crucial tool in helping to identify where more investment is needed to promote higher care standards in impacted regions, or where the competition may be raising the bar when it comes to care quality.
Using the latest 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 and how these are shifting across the country.
Regional leaders in care
Reassuringly, the majority of regions upheld at least the same levels of care homes rated ‘Outstanding’ from Q4 2022 to Q1 2023, including in the East Midlands, West Midlands, London, South East and South West. The North East deserves special recognition as the only region that experienced an increase in care homes receiving the highest recognition from the regulator, at +0.10% across the quarter.
For ‘Good’ rated care home trends, the East Midlands saw the greatest rise in care homes improving their care standards, at +0.7%. This comes alongside a –0.5% shift in care homes receiving ‘Requires Improvement’, indicating a potential upturn for care homes being rewarded for improved performance and care standards.
London also joins our list of best performing regions in Q1 2023, seeing a 0.3% decrease in care homes rated ‘Requires Improvement’, as well as a 0.2% decrease in ‘Inadequate’ – which together have contributed to a combined 0.5% increase in care homes receiving ‘Good’ ratings. This implies that wider improvements have been made to London social care settings at the most impacted levels, helping to increase the quality of care received by residents.
Percentage change in care service ratings between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023
|East of England||-0.20%||+0.20%||+0.30%||-0.30%|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||-1.30%||+0.60%||-0.20%||-0.40%|
Signs of struggle in the Northern social care sector
Whilst the North East is leading the charge on care homes receiving the best CQC ratings, the positive trend comes with a catch. Between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, care homes rated ‘Requires Improvement’ have fallen by a massive 1.8%, which is a substantially higher figure than has been reflected in ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Good’ care home increases. Without seeing any signs yet of more care homes slipping into the ‘Inadequate’ bracket, this may indicate that a number of care homes in the region have closed – and at the highest national rate across the first quarter of 2023.
The North West saw a 0.1% fall in care homes rated ‘Outstanding’, which have subsequently slid into the ‘Good’ bracket. Although receiving a ‘Good’ care home rating is commendable, this comes alongside a 0.4% rise in care homes receiving ‘Requires Improvement’ – and without the corresponding decrease in ‘Inadequate’ that we would need to see to be confident that better standards and compliance are being met.
Finally, Yorkshire and The Humber had the largest fall in ‘Outstanding’ care homes, at –1.3% across the quarter. This is a worrying sign, as ‘Good’ rated care homes in the region only increased by 0.6% – less than half of the downgraded ‘Outstanding’ facilities. This, coupled with a 0.2% reduction in care homes rated ‘Requires Improvement’ and 0.4% rise in those rated ‘Inadequate’, may indicate similar issues as seen in the North East.
Possible stagnation in national social care performance
Amidst the ongoing challenges of recruitment and funding for adult social care services across the country, it’s unsurprising that higher rates of care homes are falling into the ‘Requires Improvement’ rating bracket.
Encouragingly, there hasn’t been an increase in ‘Inadequate’ rated care homes within the first quarter across the board, but this can only be shown as a truly positive sign in London, the East Midlands and the East of England.
The West Midlands is a good example of this trend, seeing:
- 1% fewer care homes rated ‘Good’
- 2% fewer care homes rated as ‘Inadequate’
- 5% more care homes rated as ‘Requires Improvement’
Higher rates of ‘Requires Improvement’ care homes may be a predictable and increasingly common sign across the year, as independent and small care home groups face commercial pressures from heightened energy rates which have contributed to rising care home costs and issues in attracting new and experienced care workers.
If you want help improving or maintaining your rating, please get in touch for a free initial consultation.