Hunt orders review of NHS and Social Care ratings

Ratings for NHS and Social Care providers to be reviewed
Published on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 14:43
Posted by Scott Buckler

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has today ordered a review of the way that information on NHS and social care services is given to patients and the public

The study will assess the merits of an 'Ofsted-style' system of ratings for hospitals and care homes.

It will look at the way in which a new ratings system could help improve standards of care across the health and social care system. In particular, it will look at how information about services can be communicated to the public and how this information can be used to drive up standards across the system.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

"I know how well each school in my constituency is doing thanks to independent and thorough Ofsted inspections. But because the CQC only measures whether minimum standards have been reached, I do not know the same about hospitals and care homes.

"I am not advocating a return to the old 'star ratings' – but the principle that there should be an easy to understand, independent and expert assessment of how well somewhere is doing relative to its peers must be right."

"So this week I have asked for an independent study to be done as to how this might be achieved in a way that does not increase bureaucracy."

He condemned the examples of poor care that have surfaced in the past and made clear that dignity, respect, and a constant, relentless drive for improvement in standards of care must be paramount.

Jeremy Hunt continued:

"Next year we will roll out the 'friends and family' test across the NHS. For the first time hospital users will be asked if they would recommend the care they received to a friend or close member of their family. NHS staff will also be asked anonymously whether they would recommend their organisation to their own families.

"That's the closest measure we can get to 'care as you would wish to be cared for'. And we will publish the results. But we need to do more."

Secretary of State has asked for recommendations by the end of March 2013.

He made clear that, whatever the recommendations are from the review, any proposed new ratings system should have:

  • No increase in bureaucracy
  • Clear, simple results that patients and the public can understand – driving organisations to excel rather than just cover the basics
  • Greater certainty that poor care gets spotted and addressed before standards collapse
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