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Care homes offering ‘safer, higher quality and more compassionate care’ following re-inspection by CQC

25 May 2016
  • Media

Nearly three quarters of care homes originally rated Inadequate have improved their ratings following re-inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). As a result, over 12,000 people across the country are now experiencing better and safer care from these services.

Analysis published today, (Wednesday 25 May), from 1 October 2014 to 31 March 2016 reveals out of 372 care homes rated as Inadequate, 73% (273) have improved their overall ratings following the most recent CQC inspection.

From these re-inspections, three quarters (205) have gone from Inadequate to Requires Improvement and a quarter (68) have gone from Inadequate to Good.

99 of the care homes did not demonstrate sufficient progress to have their overall rating amended. 34 care homes that were Inadequate and re-inspected have subsequently become inactive – either following enforcement action taken by CQC or due to the provider choosing to close the service.

Today’s findings come at a time when the regulator has rated over 14,700 adult social care services across the country since its new approach of monitoring, inspecting and rating services was introduced just over 18 months ago.

The analysis shows that regulation can play a key part in encouraging providers to improve, but it is not the only influence. Sustained quality demands a commitment from everyone – staff, providers, commissioners and funders, regulators – all working together and listening to the voice of the public and people using services to make adult social care the best it can be.

Examples of how the re-inspected care homes were able to demonstrate that they had improved the quality of their care include: investing in training so that staff understand the needs of the people they are caring for and the required safeguarding procedures; cleaning and making sure rooms and communal areas present a homely and welcoming environment at all times; developing activities that match the interests of residents and involving them in decisions about their care, and empowering staff to suggest ideas of how to do things differently.

CQC’s Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: “I welcome the improvements we have seen during our re-inspections of care homes that were originally rated as Inadequate. Real change does not happen overnight – the improved ratings are a testament to the time, effort and determination of providers, their managers and their staff. This is good news for the people who use their services who have every right to expect care we would be happy for a loved one to receive.

“While services that have moved to Requires Improvement are heading in the right direction, I am clear that this is still not good enough and providers cannot afford to be complacent. Evidence of consistent practice and sustainability is what we are looking for, to ensure people always get the Good care they deserve.

“Ultimately, if services cannot or will not improve for the benefit of people they are paid to support, then quite frankly there is no place for them in the care sector. As the regulator, we will be vigilant and will not hesitate to use our powers to put a stop to poor standards of care being provided if necessary.

“But what I really want is for great care to become the norm. That is why CQC inspects and rates services, so we can share information about those services that are getting it right, and identify those services where CQC is tackling poor care so the process of driving forward improvement can begin.

“I recognise the stresses and strains being felt in the sector, but through working together, good quality care is what everyone must strive for. Most importantly, and as this latest analysis demonstrates, it can be done.”

Chief Executive of Care England, Professor Martin Green, said: “I am very encouraged to see the latest report from the Care Quality Commission and this clearly shows that despite the care sector facing significant challenges, there is clear evidence that improvements in the quality of care are being sustained.”

Executive Director at the National Care Forum (NCF), Vic Rayner, said: “Sustained improvements in the quality of care provided across adult social care is great news. At NCF we appreciate first hand just how hard providers are working to develop innovative, personalised services that meet CQC requirements – and most importantly the requirements of residents and their families. NCF believes that commitment towards quality is fundamental, and recognises the important role CQC plays in championing this agenda.”

Director of Policy, Carers UK, Emily Holzhausen, said: “The early signs of improvement following re-inspections announced today are encouraging but many families will remain concerned that there is not consistently high quality residential care available to those they support. Good quality care means dignity and respect for the person being cared for and also gives carers peace of mind that the person they love is well looked after. Many carers rely on back up from residential care to provide them with a much needed break from their caring role and others continue to provide significant levels of care to those living in residential care. Without trust and confidence in the quality of care being provided families see a number of negative effects on their own lives from giving up work to care to straining relationships with friends and family. There are also opportunity costs for society and the wider economy.”

Chief Executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), Rhidian Hughes, said: “Robust and efficient regulation in the sector is a must. Providers can address areas of poor quality by using inspection findings to inform improvement priorities. The delivery of high quality social care requires all parts of the sector to work together. This includes ensuring adequate funding is in place to enable voluntary organisations to deliver high quality sustainable services fit for the future.”

Chief Executive at the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), Tony Hunter, said: “Today’s announcement shows that improvement is possible, despite all the challenges that care homes face. That’s really encouraging. Managers, staff and residents have clearly made a commitment to improving the quality of care in their homes. We know from our own work with care providers that CQC inspection reports and ratings can concentrate minds and often act as a trigger to tackle difficult issues. We also recognise the issues that CQC identify as supporting improvement: investment in training, personalised support, and involving users and frontline staff in decision-making. It’s critical to sustain and expand this level of improvement; and SCIE looks forward to continuing to work with individual care providers and CQC to ensure that happens.”


For media enquiries about the Care Quality Commission, please call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours.

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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

1.   To access CQC’s analysis of care homes that were rated as Inadequate overall and then re-inspected between 1 October 2014 and 31 March 2016 – including case studies of those that have demonstrated significant improvements and a list of all those services, according to region, that have improved in this analysis timeframe – please visit: Collectively the 372 care homes were registered to care for 12,435 people.


2.    The figures published today show that 27% (99) of the 372 care homes reviewed in this period were still rated as Inadequate following their re-inspections. While 7 of these care homes received follow-up (‘focused’) inspections so soon after their full (‘comprehensive’) ones that CQC has not been able to amend their ratings yet, 92 did not demonstrate sufficient improvements to warrant their overall ratings changing. CQC will continue to monitor these services and take action as appropriate.


3.    Since 1 October 2014, CQC has been inspecting care homes using its specialised, expert-led and intelligence-driven regulatory model, which leads to ratings of Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate to help people make informed choices about their care and to encourage improvement. Care homes that have been rated as Inadequate overall are re-inspected by CQC within six months to check that improvements have been made and if not, to take action in the best interests of the people who live there. If CQC has significant concerns, it will inspect much sooner and use the full range of its enforcement powers. For further information about how CQC regulates adult social care in England, please visit:


4.    As of 19 May 2016, CQC had rated 11,421 active care homes, with and without nursing. These include:

- 1% Outstanding
- 67% Good
- 30% Requires Improvement
- 3% Inadequate

5.    There are around 17,000 active care homes in England, with and without nursing, registered with CQC.


6.    As confirmed in CQC’s 2016/17 business plan, CQC expects to have inspected every care home in England that was registered on or before 1 October 2014 at least once by the end of March 2017.


7.   The analysis demonstrates that regulation is supporting providers to improve, which is also what providers of adult social care in England are reporting. In CQC’s survey of providers, 93% of all providers of adult social care (note: not just care homes) said that they believe the way CQC inspects and regulates in beneficial to the quality of care people receive. Also, 72% said that their inspection helped them to identify areas of improvement, with 68% saying the same about their inspection report. Qualitative data shows that in particular, the inspection process has helped providers with record-keeping, tailoring care plans to meet peoples’ needs better, collecting feedback from people who use services, and helping providers to put appropriate systems in place to monitor their performance. For further information, read our Adult Social Care Annual Provider Results.

8.   Yesterday (Tuesday 24 May), CQC published its five year strategy for the regulation of health and adult social care in England. Within this, CQC set out its commitment to continue to inspect and rate all adult social care services, asking whether the current rating is still accurate, so people using services can be confident that its judgements remain timely and appropriate. The length of time between inspections will be determined by the rating of the service and the likelihood of quality having changed. CQC will inspect all newly registered locations within 12 months to award their baseline rating. Services rated as Inadequate will be inspected every six months, and those rated as Requires Improvement every year. Over the course of the strategy, CQC will move to longer intervals between inspections for services rated Good and Outstanding as it has access to better information, and in 2016/17 it will start to work with its partners and people who use services to agree appropriate timescales. For further information about this and CQC’s wider plans for the regulation of adult social care, please visit: (pp17-20).