Care Quality Commission
4 min readJan 14, 2015

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission.

Over Christmas and New Year and in the first week of January, our inspectors across the country found and reported on services failing the people they are meant to support. Sometimes this was as a result of routine, unannounced inspections and sometimes the result of information shared with us by staff, relatives or other agencies. We know that’s what makes the headlines and tackling poor care to encourage services to improve, change or close is a vital role for CQC.

Shining lights

But we also know that behind the headlines of poor care, there are thousands of services that are providing Good or Outstanding care — services that we would be happy for anyone we love and care for to use. Our new approach to inspections helps us to highlight this and last week I was really pleased when we published our first three Outstanding ratings.

Huge congratulations to:

And this week, they were joined by the first outstanding rating for a hospice — congratulations to:

Why Outstanding?

There are many Good services, but what is it that pushes these services across that boundary into Outstanding? Please take the time to read the reports and the case studies to see for yourself, but here are some of my initial thoughts.

  • They go the extra mile — one quote from a community professional about Home Instead “it is very refreshing to work with an agency who really do care and provide an excellent service above and beyond their role.”
  • They really focus on supporting their staff through induction, ongoing training and support and by involving them in the development of the service. Staff at Robert Owen Communities spoke with pride about the people they supported, one said “It’s a privilege” and another said “I feel I make a difference.”
  • They pay attention to the details that make all the difference to people — for example, garden furniture at the Prince of Wales is engraved in memory of previous residents and located in what was their favourite place in the garden.
  • They are constantly looking to improve and respond positively to concerns raised. At Julia’s House one parent said “When we raised a concern, they just sorted it out they weren’t defensive they just sorted it out.”

Person-centred care

I could go on with many more examples, but the stand-out theme for me in all of these reports is the focus on person-centred care that embraces the individual and those around them. Some more quotes:

“Julia’s House offers us as a family a truly holistic service.”

“Robert Owen Communities is so passionate about person centred care, that it is ingrained into all of us.”

“The service is beyond our expectations. There are two sides to it — the service they provide and the wrapper they put round it…we found other services lack this holistic approach. Home Instead are developing a lovely service.”

At Prince of Wales House “They also provided gluten free meals for a regular visitor so that they were able to enjoy eating their meal with their relative.”

It can be done

While we may despair at the poor services that exist, the joy of these Outstanding services is that it demonstrates truly excellent care can be provided and does make a real difference to people’s lives. The message from these examples seems to be: focus on the person, support your staff, pay attention to detail and always try to improve. Of course there’s a lot more to it than that but I hope I have given you enough of a taster to read the reports and see what can be done. I know from feedback I have already had that these Outstanding services will be an inspiration to many more.

The last word…

Goes to Suzanne Brindley, Registered Manager at Prince of Wales House:

“We didn’t think we were Outstanding and perhaps that’s why we were — because we’re always striving to do better, always looking at the next thing we can do. If we are Outstanding, I think it’s because we see every single person that comes through our doors as an individual. It is our privilege to support them to live the last years of their life with as much happiness, love and security as we can possibly give them.”

I think this sums up the ethos of what makes all four of these services so very special. Thank you and well done.

Originally published at www.cqc.org.uk.



Care Quality Commission

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.