The care watchdog has declined to raise concerns about the state of adult social care services in England, despite releasing a new batch of inspection reports that show nearly half of them failed to meet acceptable standards.
In just a week, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published 165 reports on adult social care inspections.
Of the 163 that produced overall ratings, 60 services were found to require improvement and 13 were rated as “inadequate”*, which meant 45 per cent were seen as failing to reach an acceptable standard.
Just four out of 163 were said to be “outstanding”.
Nine years ago, CQC introduced a new method of regulation, based on “ratings and risk”, which means it is more likely to inspect those services where concerns have been raised by whistleblowers, service-users and relatives.
It also paused routine inspections during the pandemic, and now appears mainly to inspect services it considers “very high risk”.
Last autumn, CQC published its annual State of Care report, which showed a slow, steady deterioration in the standard of social care services in England.
That report revealed a small but significant increase in the proportion of adult social care services that were rated as inadequate, with a rise from 1.22 per cent in 2021 to 1.30 per cent in 2022, and a similar increase in those rated as requiring improvement, from 14.10 per cent to 15.36 per cent.
CQC said this week that it would not be able to draw wider conclusions about the state of the sector until it published its next State of Care report later this year.
But a CQC spokesperson said: “We are continuing to prioritise risk-based inspections to ensure our inspection activity is focused where the quality of care is of concern.
“We expect all adult care services to be providing the very best care to people.
“The majority of care homes in England are good or outstanding and this reflects the incredible efforts of carers and providers who have gone above and beyond to provide high quality care.
“However, where concerns are brought to our attention we will not hesitate to act.
“We will always follow up on information of concern, and where there is risk we will inspect to ensure that people are safe and receiving high quality care.
“Where we find people are at risk we will take further regulatory action to ensure people’s safety and human rights are upheld.”
*An “inadequate” rating means the service is “performing badly” and CQC has taken enforcement action against its provider, while “requires improvement” means the service is “not performing as well as it should” and the watchdog has told it how to improve
Picture by Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street
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