Guest post by Mark Chapman Founder of The BetterCare Guide a site which allows the public to search for care and comment on care providers. It is the only site of its kind that is open source and covers the UK. Mark runs reallycare CIC a social enterprise on a mission: to promote transparency, standards and open source software in social care. Mark tweets as @reallycare_mark
The Department of Health (DH) have recently announced something that they currently refer to simply as “the portal” which they see as being the definitive online advice and information site for social care in England. I have been at a few meetings and conferences where it has been discussed and prepared this short introduction.
It appears that the portal will be part of the NHS Choices site, building on the current social care section. The advice section will contain an explanation of the care system, with content around financial planning (long term and crisis), prevention and rehabilitation. There will also be information about providers. At this point you may be thinking so why is this worth doing? What will this site offer that is not already available in whole or in part from a confusingly large (and growing) number of charity, private and not for profit sites? It is estimated that there are now at least 30 care quality rating websites.
The USP is the Provider Quality Profile (PQP). This will collate information about providers from a variety of sources – Care Quality Commission (CQC), public feedback (which may be collated from other sites), Healthwatch, Skills for Care and the providers themselves. Skills for Care will provide data about staff turnover and levels of qualification. The providers will have an opportunity to market their services and they will be requested (but not required) to provide metrics about various aspects of their performance. For instance residential care providers might report on the numbers of falls, and domiciliary care providers on the numbers of missed visits. Full details are being discussed between the Department of Health and social care bodies. The PQP is seen as a means of informing the public about quality in a meaningful way and consequently improving quality of provision.
However, much of this information will not be available for personal assistants, who are now thought to be in the majority in the social care workforce.
The site will go live in April 2013 and is expected to iterate rapidly through the next year. The 111 telephone service will offer something approaching equivalent functionality for people the wrong side of the digital divide.
I am not closely involved with this project and if there are inaccuracies and omissions in the information provided please don’t hesitate to comment.