Care watchdog clamps down on bad practice using review website
Care homes and homecare agencies that have been given bad reviews online could be left worried after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) announced it will be considering the feedback as part of its inspection process.
The Good Care Guide has been giving people a voice since February 2012, allowing them to rate and review local care providers.
As of this week, the health and social care watchdog will use the website, as the two parties aim to ensure high standards are maintained across Britain.
Good Care Guide director Ben Black said the site is pleased to support the CQC, a body that "has a hugely important job to do".
"Our reviews are honest and impartial, and depict the views of real people using care homes," he said.
"People get no reward for leaving the reviews other than helping others looking for a care home so the CQC are wise to capitalise on this feedback to help form a judgement on the quality of a care home or home care agency."
The consensus on the site is that care of older people needs to improve significantly.
Good Care Guide's reviews have also been used by the Department of Health for the new care comparison section of its NHS Choices website.
CQC director of strategy & intelligence Paul Bate said: "The views of the public are of paramount importance and this service helps bring people's views about the quality of care services that people are receiving straight to the attention of our inspection teams. It is vital that wherever information is posted about the quality of care services, we get to hear about it."
The partnership coincides with a charity's claim that over 100,000 disabled people who require assistance in their homes may not have access to council care services under Government plans.
Authorities in England would have to ensure a minimum level of care support under the Department of Health proposals. This would currently see them help people with substantial needs, the second highest band.
Health minister Norman Lamb said the draft measures would stop councils from attempting to save money by limiting who is entitled to care.
Mr Lamb added that it would mean current levels of access to care and support are maintained as the planned minimum level is already implemented by the "vast majority" of local councils.
However, Scope has pointed to a study by the London School of Economics that suggests the changes would leave 105,000 disabled people who need daily assistance outside the social care system.