New rating system for hospitals and care homes
Last week, a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who are currently responsible for overseeing care standards, reported that health services were ‘struggling’. Today the Health secretary will propose setting up an “Ofsted style” ratings system that would be applied to hospitals and care homes in England. The suggestion is that the NHS should consider introducing a grading system similar to that applied to schools now. Using this would put in place an easy to understand independent expert assessment of how well somewhere is doing in comparison to its peers. Presently, services only have to meet minimum standards set by the CQC and critics have said this is only a tick box exercise which does nothing to encourage improvement.
Trefine Maynard, a medical injury specialist solicitor at Ashtons Legal, said: “It is very worrying that last weeks CQC report found that overall one in four services in England failed at least one of the 16 key standards. The most common failings were in the standards relating to dignity, respect, nutrition, care and welfare and this is generally believed to impact most on elderly patients and residents who are also often the most vulnerable.
This level of failure when it relates to what are said to only be minimum standards, suggests that the current regulatory system is failing to ensure proper care and treatment. It is certainly true that many people who contact our legal team report failures in the care of their loved ones. A number of these enquiries do not give rise to a litigation claim but they do show the high level of very poor care that is experienced by those in the care of these institutions and something clearly needs to be put in place urgently to address this.
The Nuffield Trust, who will review the proposals, are due to report in March 2013 and I hope it does not fall behind this date and that reforms thereafter are put in place as a matter of urgency. We are currently failing vulnerable patients and residents and that is an appalling position to be in”.
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