Care homes with five-star ratings are receiving premium fees despite not meeting essential standards set out by the care regulator.
Local authorities pay higher fees to care homes awarded top ratings.
But critics say this is a “cheque book system” open to any home prepared to pay for a rating.
The Care Quality Commission advises people to visit homes and check their most recent CQC inspection report before making a decision on care.
Care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) stopped issuing its own star ratings in 2010 and now some homes pay independent ratings companies and consultants to assess them instead
Higher fees for homes
Sefton Council pays a quality premium to homes given a high rating by the companies – a residential or nursing home with five stars receives an additional £40 per week on top of the basic fee paid for each person in its care.
Critics say not having a nationally recognised quality assurance scheme for care homes is confusing A spokesman for Sefton Council said: “All the companies providing quality ratings use assessment criteria linked to outcomes in care home provision.
“We work closely with the CQC to ensure quality standards are closely monitored. If either party feel standards have reduced, through their own monitoring activity or inspections, we will decline or even suspend a particular rating and work with CQC in relation to this.”
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