Who cares?

3 December 2009
Going into a care home, or finding a home for a loved one, is a time when life-changing decisions have to be made often amid upset and upheaval. And the statement published today on the quality of adult social care by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) provides little comfort for families in this situation. A report by the commission has rated 400 out of the 24,000 adult social care services as “poor” and 3,500 as merely “adequate”. But the CQC is also worried that a number of councils are purchasing “a significant proportion” of residential and nursing home care from these providers. The CQC acknowledges that there are many reasons for this, ranging from a limited availability of care providers to families choosing to use a poor provider because it is close to home. But it also points out that “councils have a responsibility to develop markets over the long-term so that the right care is available”. We ran a story yesterday in which a think tank recommended that UK public sector buyers procure services based only on outcomes. The CQC itself says it assesses how well councils provide care based on the outcomes for the service users. Perhaps it still remains for some councils themselves to make that shift towards putting outcomes for service users at the top of their list of priorities when purchasing services.
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