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Quality and cost of care still a postcode lottery across England

Published on 26th July 2017

Over the past six months quality improvements have been seen across residential, nursing and home care services. In December 2016 care quality had slumped by almost 10% (9.17%) from the previous year. Analysis of Care Quality Commission (CQC) data at the midpoint of the year shows that care quality is picking up again, with a near 2% (1.76%) rise since December 2016.

There is good news for people living in the west of the country with Worcestershire taking the number one spot for care quality and neighbouring county Herefordshire coming in third.

West Yorkshire remains at the bottom of the league table and neighbouring counties Greater Manchester and Merseyside are third and second from last. Greater Manchester coming in second from last is of national interest because there has been a complete devolution of health and social care services from Whitehall and NHS England to the county. The county has complete control of how they deliver care and how they spend their annual health and social care budget.

Oxfordshire is the most expensive county to receive care at an average cost of £954.58 per week, whereas Lancashire is the cheapest at £531.27 per week. There is a definite North-South divide when it comes to the average cost of residential care, with residential care service users in the South paying on average £7,161.55 more per year than the same service user in the North. The cost of care has little bearing on care quality with only one of the top 5 most expensive counties (Oxfordshire) being in the top 10 for care quality.

Since December 2015 the CQC have steadily increased the percentage of services inspected by nearly 4%, from 83.1% to 87%.

The unique analysis first compiled in 2015 not only shows significant shifts in the year-on-year quality of care but also month-on-month – only 9% of services have held their position on the league table since December 2016. Significant shifts in care quality have occurred in Oxfordshire, Nottinghamshire and Surrey, which are outlined below:

Oxfordshire have jumped 35 places from 45th to 10th over the past 18 months for care quality. The rise can be accredited to quality improvements in all care types:

  • Residential services have risen 23 places from 33rd to 10th 
  • Nursing care services have risen 22 places from 25th to 3rd
  • Home care services have risen 28 places from 42nd to 14th

Surrey have climbed 22 places from 36th to 14th since December 2016 for care quality. The rise can be accredited to quality improvements in residential and nursing care:

  • Residential services have risen 26 places from 40th to 14th
  • Nursing care services have risen 35 places from 42nd to 7th
  • Home care services have dropped 11 places from 7th to 18th

Nottinghamshire have risen 18 places from 41st to 23rd ¬since December 2016 for care quality. The rise can be accredited to quality improvements across all care services:

  • Residential services have risen 19 places from 40th to 21st
  • Nursing care services have risen 13 places from 41st to 28th
  • Home care services have risen 3 places from 29th to 26th

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