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CQC ratings – where are we now?

Discovery Latest
2 August 2019

Twelve months ago I wrote about Discovery’s CQC ratings. Today, I’m going to return to that subject.

Eleven of our CQC-registered locations are rated ‘good.’ Three are not in the position we would have hoped for by now; they ‘require improvement.’

Now, each overall rating is based on ratings in the critical areas of Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive and Well Led. Diving into the data more deeply, we can see that Discovery must continue to particularly focus on the ‘Well Led’ and ‘Safe’ areas.

CQC itself reports that being ‘Well led’ facilitates high performance in all the other areas. I’ve talked extensively in past blogs and letters to families about this, about how we’re securing great leaders in all our services. The number of skilled leaders within Discovery grows every day through our ongoing training programmes.

My colleagues are considering patterns and common issues, with a view to understanding and tackling the root cause of the issues that the inspectors highlighted. For example, if the opening date of a box of pills has not been marked on the box, is that due to inadequate training, poor practice or something else? Likewise if cupboards and doors have been left unlocked. If checks – fire checks, or checks on equipment such as bed rails – have not been completed, is that because our systems are not prompting as they should, or because decisions are being made around colleagues’ priorities?

The situation is complex but issues common to the three locations include the high colleague turnover we experienced over the last year and ongoing challenges with transferring to other aspects of best practice.

Disappointing CQC reports can of course be hard to receive for people working flat out to deliver high quality support, so I’d like to highlight that there was also a great deal of positive feedback on the three locations that required improvement. In particular, colleagues delivered ‘kind and respectful’ support and ‘demonstrated acts of kindness and thoughtfulness.’ People who used the services looked ‘comfortable and relaxed.’ Thank you, colleagues.

What are we doing about it?

We’ve divided our work in Somerset into three areas, each spearheaded by an experienced Operations Director with a local focus and presence.

Managers of the three locations rated as requiring improvement all have a specific improvement plan aimed at systematically tackling each of the specific issues found during inspection. In fact, every Discovery operational team has a development plan targeting the highest quality of personalised support.

We have made significant investment in performance coaches, doubling the number from three to six coaches; their role is to spread best practice across all Discovery’s services. Performance coaches help locality mangers shape how their teams work, identifying and tackling quality issues early. We also continue to work hard to recruit new, and retain high quality existing colleagues in a sector and part of the country where unemployment is 1%.

And in response to feedback that our colleagues are not always aware of the career and benefits available to them, we have recently produced information on careers pathways – I hope all colleagues will take the opportunity to consider these carefully.

As always, I welcome correspondence. No-one has a monopoly on good ideas; I’d value your views. Email me: luke.joy-smith@discovery-uk.org with your thoughts. Thank you.