We believe that everyone should be able to receive outstanding care, regardless of who they are or where they come from. This is a value shared by our expert care consultants and underpins the support that we provide to our care home clients across the UK. But the first six months’ of CQC data reveals that where you live may play a larger role in determining the level of care on offer.
Number of good and outstanding care homes remain stable
One of the most effective ways to evaluate any system is to look back at the data and assess what trends are emerging and where improvement is needed. Regular visitors to our website may be familiar with our CQC Dashboard that provides live data for care home comparisons and ratings. Given that we’re now midway through the year, we’re tracking this progress across a much wider range, to help you understand what these numbers may mean for the care service in your region.
The good news is that the number of Good and Outstanding-rated care homes in England remains relatively stable between January and June 2022, with 80% of care homes holding onto a commendable Good or Outstanding rating. However, it’s important to remember that this is an average; the percentage of care homes rated Good or Outstanding starts to change depending on where you live in the country. So, what does this postcode lottery in the care sector look like?
Regional variations in outstanding care
The CQC reserves ‘Outstanding’ ratings for a select number of care homes that meet a high level of their requirements, demonstrating a great grasp on the characteristics of Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive and Well-led. This means that the total number of Outstanding care homes is generally much smaller than the total pool of Good rated ones. With this said, there are large regional variations that make some postcodes better positioned for residents to find a bed in an Outstanding care home than in others.
For example, in the South West of England, 6.1% of care facilities are rated Outstanding, compared to only 2.3% in the West Midlands. This implies that someone in the South West is almost three times more likely to receive Outstanding care than somebody in the West Midlands. Londoners do not fare much better either, with only 2.5% of care facilities in the capital being given the highest CQC rating.
The ‘Good’ news
On a more positive note, the regional variations are much smaller when it comes to the percentage of Good care homes. Again, the South West came out on top, with 79.7% of homes holding a Good rating. However, this time it was the East Midlands who held the lower end of the scale, with 67.8% of homes obtaining the rating — a difference of 11.9%.
Whilst this does continue the theme of there being a postcode lottery of the highest care quality, the variations between these different regions are much narrower than for Outstanding care homes. Essentially, all regions bar the East Midlands had over 70% of their care homes rated ‘Good’ at the least. This gives us the certainty to say that all regions of England have universal and adequate access to some form of Good care service.
Is equal access to Outstanding care a possibility?
Whilst it’s great that some regions in England are leading the way in achieving Outstanding, it does beg the question as to whether such access could be shared throughout the country.
Fulcrum’s Managing Director, Tony Thiru says: “It’s reassuring that the number of Good and Outstanding care homes has remained relatively stable. The CQC’s data also reveals that some really promising work is being done in certain regions, such as in the South West, where the number of inadequate care homes has more than halved. Equally, in the East Midlands, the number of Inadequate homes has fallen from 2.7% to 1.9% in just six months – a commendable improvement.
“Stability is a good sign, but it also means that the numbers have yet to budge in some areas for care facility improvement. This could give care providers valuable insight into where they need to be focusing their efforts, to deliver a better quality of care and stand out against the competition.
“Whilst there’s always going to be some regional variation, we believe in promoting Good and Outstanding care across the country, to ensure that everyone has access to the later life care they deserve. We’re working with care homes across England – as well as the rest of the UK – to help them reach better ratings with the CQC or their local regulatory bodies. From crisis management to support care homes in special measures, to the last mile between Good and Outstanding.
“Regional variations are not unique to social care. They’re commonplace across the health sector. This means that where you live will still play a role in the care options available to you. That’s why a wider discussion needs to be had as to the support, skills and funding available to the social care sector, to help level the playing field for a better care environment.”
If you are a care home owner, provider or manager who is interested in more information about your regional performance, or recommendations for how to achieve a higher CQC rating, get in touch. Our team of dedicated care experts are more than happy to help.