The CQC are an important organisation within the health and social care setting. Their main aim is to ensure that every care provider and setting has a high standard of care and compassion. They rate the establishments based on fundamental standards in which they believe health and social care settings should never fail on. 

Once an establishment has been inspected, they will receive a rating of either outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate. It is important to know how and why they have gained their rating.

• Outstanding – The service is performing extremely well, with little or no improvement needed.

• Good – Performing well and meeting CQC expectations, small needs for improvement but not concerning.

• Requires improvement – Performing poorly and not as well as it should be, and improvements have been outlined to show how it must improve.

• Inadequate – Performing very poorly and action has been taken against the person/organisation running the service.

CQC ratings are very important when choosing a healthcare setting for you or a loved one. Inadequate ratings show that an establishment is at high risk of being closed if deemed poor enough or they have not taken the relevant steps of action to improve. The overall rating of health care providers is based on five areas:

• Safe – Is this a safe environment for residents? They must be protected from harm and abuse.

• Care – Are the staff caring towards patients? They should always be treated with kindness, dignity, compassion and respect as a minimum.

• Response – Are the residents needs being responded to? Are they organised in order to meet these?

• Effective – Does the care or treatment being offered, achieve good outcomes and help the patients maintain a good quality of life?

• Well led – Does the management team ensure they are providing high quality of care that’s based around the individual needs of the patient?

The above areas would be marked individually during an inspection. The ratings of these five areas would then be combined to give an overall rating to the establishment.

If the overall rating is low, this would notify where there are areas for improvement and highlight actions that needed to take place in order to bring them back up to standard. Once these areas had been worked on and the necessary changes made, they could then ask the CQC to conduct another inspection to re-evaluate on the changes that have been made. If no effort is made by the establishment to make these changes, the CQC could impose time limits, place them in special measures where they will become closely supervised, issue a caution, fines or more severely prosecute where people are harmed or placed in danger.

CQC ratings must be made available by the care provider. These should be placed where they are easily visible and must also be included on their website with their latest report. If these are not readily available, it is highly recommended that you ask for the reports before making a final decision.