When our Care Quality Commission (CQC) Inspector, Christopher Bishop, completed his inspection of St Omer on 27th February 2019 he told us, unequivocally, that he had assessed our service as Outstanding. He had previously inspected us in August 2016.
He continued to refer to St Omer as Outstanding both to us (in subsequent telephone conversations) and to others (that he spoke to following the inspection) until 15th May 2019 when he advised us that the CQC review team had met the previous Friday and in their assessment (of his report and findings) we were only Good in all categories. It was clear from his tone that our Inspector (and possibly his Manager with whom he had discussed this) was very unhappy with this judgement and did not feel it to be fair or correct.
What our inspector didn’t tell us was that he had inspected another service in Torbay the following week and assessed that service as being Outstanding too.
Our inspector had never awarded an Outstanding since becoming an inspector for the CQC and both our draft report (stating we were Outstanding) and the other home’s report (stating they were Outstanding too) were reviewed internally (we suspect) by the same people at the same time.
It could be considered bizarre that his judgement of one service was fully supported whilst his judgement of the other was deemed entirely incorrect.
Or maybe the CQC could not countenance one inspector assessing two services on two consecutive inspections as being Outstanding?
For the CQC to remain a credible regulator of Care Services their judgement must be deemed to be honest, impartial and fair.
As far as we are concerned, they have failed on all three fronts!
To add insult to injury a provider cannot appeal an assessment on the grounds of fairness, only on the basis that the CQC has contravened its own processes, which of course we cannot judge as part of their process involves faceless and unaccountable (to us) CQC personnel.
St Omer has always performed well as assessed by the regulator. We had previously been assessed as three stars (out of three) when that grading system was in operation and we were assessed as Good in 2016. We did not agree with this judgement and were unhappy about it, but our inspector felt he could not ‘jump through rings of fire’ (his words not ours) to justify internally with the CQC a judgement of Outstanding, especially as he had only just started as an inspector with them at that time.
Our inspector acknowledges the host of developments and improvements we have made since the inspection in 2016.
Please read our report and judge for yourself.
We are not of course unbiased when we read our inspector’s report, but we believe this describes an Outstanding service, not a Good one.
If you feel the CQC has performed in the way we have described above we would welcome your support.
Letters of complaint to both our Inspector, Christopher Bishop (who some of you will have spoken to during the inspection process) and the new Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Kate Terroni, would be appreciated.
We must be honest and say that the CQC seems to have a real problem in being able to accept that they make mistakes, but that must not deter us from trying!
We also intend to try to raise interest with the local media, and if you feel you could we would also appreciate your support in that too.
We fully support the CQC in their endeavours in exposing poor and negligent care, but when they act as described above with (by their own inspector’s judgement) a provider who is delivering Outstanding Care how can they retain credibility with the public?