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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

We need a TripAdvisor for UK Care Homes

My first blog posting for ages and it is a personal gripe. Sorry.

Last week the BBC broadcast a radio programme (File on 4) about the chaotic mess that masquerades as the ‘official’ monitor of the standards in UK Care Homes. This podcast is only available if you are in the UK or if you know how to fool the system by using a proxy server.

I have always been suspicious of the public sector mentality that pervades much of the care home industry but even I was shocked as I heard the head of the Care Quality Commission attempt to explain its deficiencies.

I know that the BBC can create a one-sided portrayal of any situation, and often does, but I think this programme gets to the core of the problem. Just listen.

The only way we are going to sort this mess out is by the wholesale application of user generated content. We need a TripAdvisor for care homes where the people that really know and care about what is happening - those with parents and friends in these places – are given a voice to reveal the reality.

There is no way that a bunch of bureaucrats will deliver what is required. 95% of their time will be spent on form filling, meetings, coordinating, training, sick leave, work sharing, maternity leave, holidays and ‘processes’.

I am sure the social networking model would work for care homes. The next application would the quality of care on individual hospital wards.

There is an endemic and institutional failure of the public sector to monitor and correct its own failings. Bring on customer power. Dick Stroud

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