The Care Quality Commission has attempted to reassure trusts its soon-to-go-live regulation system is “not a rating, not a ranking and not a league table”.
The regulator plans to publish a “quality risk profile” – constantly updated and based on a huge range of up-to-date data – for each provider.
The system is intended to partly replace the annual health check’s ratings, which were criticised last year for being out of date.
The public profiles will include ratings for each of the regulator’s six areas of quality. Each area will have a score presented on a speedometer-style dial, which will be coloured red, amber or green dependent on the score.
The CQC hopes to start using the profiles for trusts in the next six weeks, the regulator’s director of intelligence Richard Hamblin told the HC2010 IT conference in Birmingham last week. It plans to put public versions on its website in the autumn.
Mr Hamblin said: “It is not a rating, it is not a ranking and it is not a league table. We are not making judgements from a small number of indicators.”
Mr Hamblin said the data, like hospital-wide mortality ratios, could help identify poor care but not confirm problems.
He emphasised trust ratings would not be downgraded on the basis of new information alone, and would instead be used to prompt a visit by inspectors.
Mr Hamblin said if inspectors find a problem the public profile will be downgraded. He said: “You will never get a situation where, based only on data, we say publicly we think there is a problem.”
The CQC plans to give providers early access to the full and latest information their profile is based on. Mr Hamblin said: “We are hoping this will prompt you to start digging and understanding what’s going on.”