NHS launches online care provider profiles
Caring Times, April 2013
The Department of Health has launched new online profiles for every registered care and support provider, which went live in April 2013. Each profile features information and advice to help people understand their care and support options.
People will be encouraged to use these new provider profiles on the NHS Choices website to help narrow down their search for good quality, registered care that meets their personal needs and preferences. The profiles are a major step in enabling people to make more informed and confident choices about care for themselves or family members.
Registered care providers will be able to use their profiles to tell people what makes their service special and how their support can improve someone’s quality of life.
Providers can use this search to find their existing profile on the website. The profiles are extremely basic at the moment, but this is an excellent opportunity for providers to add, for free, a range of information to promote their care service on one of the most visited websites in the UK. NHS Choices currently receives over 19 million visits per month.
Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb said: “I would strongly encourage all providers to contribute their information to the new care and support area of the NHS Choices website. Providing information in this way is essential in supporting people to make more informed, confident choices about care for themselves or their family members.
“Care providers will also now have the opportunity to promote their own services. For those trying to make decisions – such as which care home to choose – they will also be able to look at a range of providers and compare and contrast services that are offered in their area.”
Using the profiles care providers can:
- give people a taste of what their organisation offers and of what makes them special.
- show how their support could enhance someone’s life, and provide details about the services providers offer – for example, whether they provide specialised care for dementia sufferers if they provide residential care, or whether they provide live-in care services if they provide homecare.
- tell people about the quality of care they provide using new Transparency and Quality Compact measures agreed by care and support providers – for example how they perform on pressure care management in a residential care home or scheduled visits taking place on time for a homecare agency.
- show people how proud providers are of their staff and why.
- provide useful practical details on things such as visiting times and menu options.
Providers could take a look at what St Cecilia’s care home in Scarborough, Choice Support Aylesbury, the Good Care Group in London and the Oxfordshire Shared Lives Scheme have already done with their profiles.
From April, the provider profiles will also include comments by users of services, their families and carers, which have either been left on NHS Choices or other feedback websites which meet strict moderation criteria. This genuine customer feedback will further help people make decisions about their care.
What do care providers need to do now?
The new care and support provider area on the NHS Choices website is now ready for providers to log on and add their organisation’s details. To get started, providers need to register their organisation:
- Visit the ‘Your pages’ area of the NHS Choices website, which has further details about the profiles and about how providers can easily request editing access.
- Or, email NHS Choices direct to request editing access: provide the provider full name, email address, job title, contact number and postcode for each care organisation profile they would like to manage.
- Important note: if a care service is part of a larger organisation or operates from several sites, please contact your provider head office in the first instance, before requesting editing access.
Transparency and Quality Compact measures
The Government has worked with care and support providers and their representatives to develop a set of Transparency and Quality Compact measures. Providers can choose to complete and add these to their profiles to tell people about more detailed aspects of the quality of their care. The list of quality measures is:
- staff stability
- staff training
- falls (residential and nursing care only)
- pressure care (residential and nursing care only)
- medication management (residential and nursing care only)
- scheduled visits taking place (homecare only)
- timeliness of visits (homecare only)
To find out more, read this guide to the measures. [http://caringforourfuture.dh.gov.uk/2013/02/27/new-online-information-to-help-people-choose-good-quality-local-care/]
So far, quality measures have been agreed for residential and homecare services for older people. We now want to work with providers to develop similar measures for other types of care, such as Shared Lives or supported living.
People have told us that they want to be able to compare care providers quickly, as well as having the option to find out more. The Secretary of State has asked the Nuffield Trust to carry out a review to consider whether aggregate ratings of provider performance should be used in health and social care, and if so how best this might be done. The Nuffield Trust is expected to report back to the Secretary of State by the end of March 2013. If quality ratings are developed, this information would also be included on each provider’s profile alongside more detailed about the care and support they offer.