Provider ratings: The effects of the Care Quality Commission's new inspection and rating system on provider performance

A joint research project undertaken by The University of Manchester and The King's Fund, and funded by the Department of Health.

Doctor in discussion with patient in a corridor.

The research sets out to examine how providers, the public and other stakeholders respond to provider ratings, and what impacts inspection and ratings have on the quality of care and on improving performance. These are important but complex questions to answer. Understanding how ratings work, as part of the wider inspection process, is essential if we are to increase the potential benefits for the quality of healthcare, and reduce the costs and any adverse or unintended consequences. 

There was four main research questions:

  • How is the system of ratings meant to work, and bring about improvements in the quality of care?
  • How does it work in practice, and what do providers, the public and others do in response to ratings?
  • What impact does the system of ratings have on measures of the quality of care and provider performance?
  • How could the system of ratings be improved?

The combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods was used to make good use of the large amounts of data which CQC collects about inspections and ratings. The findings will be shared with CQC and the Department of Health, as well as with health and social care providers themselves, to help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the system of provider ratings.

Project team