Changes needed for a more transparent system
The Care Act 2014, which came into effect in April 2015, has pledged to create an open and equal health and care system – where people have a choice and access to all the information regarding their care, available services and costing. The journey towards a transparent system will see the second stage of the Act be enforced in April 2016. The transparency offered by the Care Act is going to take many steps to achieve in what has previously been a closed system and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is assisting with this with the introduction of its open scoring system.
Since 1st April 2015, all health and care organisations must display their CQC rating, whether they are good or bad. The rating notice has to be placed in an area where it is viewable by the public, as well as on their website. The CQC believe this will lead to people making better informed choices about their own care.
Jeremy Hunt, Former Health Secretary, welcomes the addition, “By making inspection ratings more visible, we are helping people make more informed choices about their care, celebrating success and driving up standards.” *
Scores on the doors
It is believed that these ‘Trip Advisor’ style ratings and a ‘name and shame’ approach of care organisations having to openly display that they are inadequate is thought to be enough to encourage them to change and improve.
The new approach to CQC performance ratings has been likened to the Environmental Health & Hygiene ratings which are commonly displayed in eateries throughout the UK. Using the scoring system and having this displayed allows people to use this as a basis for their research when choosing care. Like choosing a holiday, after reading reviews on Trip Advisor, or entering a restaurant knowing it is hygienic; the CQC score will instantly inform people of the level of service that organisation can offer.
Resistance from within the healthcare sector
Controversially, unlike the Government and the public, many health organisations have disagreed, stating that the display of scoring will have more of a detriment than benefit. This is especially the view within GP practices who feel that negative scores will have a damaging effect on the relationship they hold with their patients. This reaction is understandable with statistics showing 27% of providers have been branded as failing and requiring improvements.**
Also, those providers who experience low scores have the possibility of their reputation being damaged in the long term and they will have to understand how to deal with these consequences. Alistair Clay, Managing Director of Arc Seven, states that companies will need a good PR strategy to be able to effectively communicate the good news and explain the bad.***
It is easy to understand why some organisations are nervous about the changes, and achieving the benefits of such a system will be a delicate balance for CQC. By highlighting the failures of organisations, the public are getting a realistic view of the services around them allowing them to make more informed choices.
To find out more about the Care Act and how your journey as a care provider or care service user will be effected please visit our website www.advancedcomputersoftware.com/careact
By Polly Roberts, Commercial Director for Care at Advanced Health & Care