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Care home providers to publish statistics on number of medication errors and complaints

Article By: Sue Learner, News Editor

Care home and home care providers will have to publish data on number of medication errors and complaints, under an agreement in the Government’s Open Data White Paper.

The move towards more transparency should enable people to more easily compare care home and home care providers.

The White Paper states that ‘from autumn 2012, those domiciliary and residential social care providers who signed up to the voluntary and industry-led Transparency and Quality Compact will publish a core set to relevant metrics.

These metrics will enable the public to make more informed choices based on standardised quality indicators. They will also allow providers to demonstrate what they are doing well by reporting data already collected for internal and regulatory purposes.’

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: “Transparency is at the heart of our agenda for government. Opening up will empower citizens, foster innovation and reform public services.”

The organisations which have signed up to the Transparency and Quality Compact include Anchor Trust, Barchester Healthcare, BUPA, Four Seasons Healthcare, Good Care Group, HC-One, Methodist Homes Association, Saga and Westminster Homecare.

Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association and chair of the Care Providers Alliance said: “Large social care providers have been leading the way in developing and improving the quality of data about social care services.

"This data is being delivered in an accessible way, so that people who use services have enough information to make informed choices and can understand and differentiate the quality of care.”

He added: “The publication of the government's Open Data White Paper has been warmly welcomed by the social care sector, who believes that the use of data could be a powerful tool in improving consumer understanding of care services, which will lead to better consumer choice and improved quality."

Mike Parsons, founder and chief executive of Barchester Healthcare Ltd also welcomed the government’s Open Data White Paper.

He said: “A simplified, accountable and transparent framework for data collection within social care, focussed on outcomes and excellence, will provide a sound basis for moving its services forward. We have a special interest in transparent outcomes and have been working to introduce data collection that runs in parallel with NHS systems, so that outcomes can eventually be compared across the care sector.”

Dr Peter Calveley, chief executive of Four Seasons said: “Four Seasons has recently spent significant time with organisations such as ADASS in improving transparency and access to information regarding our business. We are delighted that the government has developed this white paper and will work with colleague organisations, government and other key stakeholders in achieving improved transparency of information within our sector.”

While Jane Ashcroft, chief executive, said she was “delighted that the Government is working to improve access to information and are keen to ensure that there is a focus on people's experiences, rather than providing data for data's sake."

The data that will be published from the autumn will be slightly different for care homes and home care, but is likely to include:

• staff turnover (both home care and care homes)

• ratios of trained to untrained staff (both home care and care homes)

• compliments and complaints (both home care and care homes)

• percentage of residents developing new pressure ulcers (care homes)

• percentage of residents who have a fall (care homes)

• number of medication errors (care homes)

• percentage of appointments not missed (home care)

• appointments carried out at the agreed time (home care)

Image: Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office - credit Cabinet Office


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