Research by Independent Age has revealed that care homes’ ratings from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have worsened in 37% of local authorities; an increase on last year which showed care homes doing worse in 22% of authorities.

According to the charity’s study, using publicly available CQC inspection data taken from January 2018, there were 16 local authority areas where between 30% to 40% of care homes received “Requires Improvement” or “Inadequate” ratings.

Manchester came at the top of the table of local authorities with a decline in care home performance, with 44% of care homes rated as “Inadequate” or ”Requires Improvement”.

Independent Age Director of Policy and Influencing George McNamara said: “The Government continues to stand by and do nothing to address the quality of care suffered by older people.” He said this “robbed older people of their ability to enjoy life as much as possible”.

The Independent Age study said the Government’s upcoming Green Paper and lack of funding were not the only contributors to poor outcomes for care homes. It stated: “Care homes remain an overlooked sector in public services. Data shows that we tolerate poor care home quality far more than failing GP surgeries or schools.”

It concluded that the care home sector could learn valuable lessons from the education sector where more regular inspections from the education watchdog resulted in better outcomes for struggling schools. It said, in contrast, the CQC returns to care homes six months after a poor rating to check whether changes have been made. The report stated: “Following on from a rating of ‘special measures’, schools tend to be re-inspected on a termly basis. On each occasion, a report will be published to provide a regular assessment of whether the school is improving. This constant re-evaluation ensures that the school is made accountable for making the changes necessary to drive performance.”

The study also suggested that local authorities could take more of a collaborative approach to raising standards in care homes in their areas.

The study, Care Home Performance Across England — March 2018, is available at www.independentage.org.

Last reviewed 5 April 2019