A web-based self-assessment system aimed at helping 58 private sector nursing homes across Worcestershire meet ever-increasing legal compliance standards has been branded “hard work and time consuming.”
Residential nursing providers already using the tool in neighbouring Warwickshire and Coventry have claimed it is a “struggle to use.”
And now it’s been rolled out in Worcestershire fears have been raised that data entered online may be used for punitive measures if it shows homes are not meeting the quality assurance mark demanded by clinical commissioning groups.
The package – known as Care Homes Dashboard – has been developed by NHS Arden Commissioning Support in partnership with Wyre Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG and South Worcestershire CCG, to “monitor, manage and improve standards of care.”
But so far it has failed to win universal support in pilot areas, according to the head of umbrella care organisation, West Midlands Care Association (WMCA), which represents private providers.
Criticism has also come from Rakesh Kotecha, the regional Care Association Director for Worcester and owner of a home in Bromsgrove.
He said: “There’s been a number of meetings about this tool to implement quality assurance and the feelings are very mixed.
“Some managers and owners felt that the information gathered and then displayed in an analytical way, would help them understand better their own businesses.
“But the majority felt that it was yet another hurdle that the industry would have to jump for no additional money.”
WMCA chief executive Debbie Le Quesne, said: “Some of the homes in Warwickshire and Coventry have been using the Dashboard tool and frankly, have found it to be a struggle, hard work and time-consuming.
“In a blame culture, homes are concerned, despite the CCG saying that they would not use the data for punitive methods, that it would in fact, be the case.
“I’m concerned too, that my members are already swamped with Care Quality Commission must-do tasks, and while I appreciate the Dashboard is aimed at being proactive, it’s yet another tier of data management that managers and owners are expected to fit in to their already overcrowded work schedules.”
Ms Le Quesne added that although her association represented a huge swathe of Midlands’ providers, it had not been involved with the development of the Dashboard, but had attended workshops in preparation of its launch.
The Dashboard claims to provide assurance on a range of local and national clinical key performance indicators, such as infection control, falls, pressure ulcers and hospital admissions. It also includes a confidential ‘Serious Incidents’ and a ‘Never Events’ reporting portal, where providers can alert a local patient safety team of an incident in their home.