Andrea Sutcliffe’s blog

Monthly column for providers and professionals working in adult social care from Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care.

I have known that I am leaving CQC for months now, but it has still come as a shock that this is my final column for the provider bulletin.

I have so many people that I want to say thank you to that I don’t think I could fit them all into this column, so instead I will just say thank you to everyone working in adult social care across the country — whether you are providing direct support as a care worker, leading an organisation or any one of the hundreds of different roles we need to keep adult social care going. This lovely video from Wren Hall (rated Outstanding) shows what a huge contribution everyone makes — valuing and recognising that is so important.

I leave my role as Chief Inspector with adult social care in a better place than we were five years ago with increasing numbers of services rated as Good and Outstanding. But despite the progress, due to the considerable efforts of so many people across the sector, there is uncertainty and challenge with some services struggling to maintain quality and others failing to improve. While demand is increasing and resources are tight, we still need to focus on providing safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and I am sure everyone will continue to do that.

There are many great leaders working in adult social care to celebrate and learn from, but we can only do this if we are all working together.

As you may already know my colleague Debbie Westhead is taking on the role of Interim Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care until a permanent arrangement is in place and I could not be happier about her appointment. Debbie started her career as a frontline care worker and is a huge asset to CQC. In January you will hear from Debbie in her first column as Interim Chief Inspector. I am confident that Debbie and the team will continue to work with providers to ensure they deliver high-quality care.

Last week I attended a ‘Leadership in Adult Social Care’ event and had the pleasure of hearing some of my friends and colleagues speak. Something that was mentioned by everyone who spoke, including myself, was the importance of working together. We have to continue to build relationships, coproduce with each other and people using services, their families and carers and work more closely with the health sector if we want to see adult social care improve. There are many great leaders working in adult social care to celebrate and learn from, but we can only do this if we are all working together.

My passion for adult social care and the people who use these services will never leave me.

Although the goodbyes have started already for me I don’t think it has sunk in that I am not going to be returning to CQC in the new year. As I have said before though I won’t be too far away at the Nursing and Midwifery Council. There are thousands of nurses working in adult social care all over the country, so adult social care will still be a focus for me and my passion for adult social care and the people who use these services will never leave me. I am excited to take on the new challenges that the NMC will have for me, but I will miss so many things about CQC.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for following my journey over the past five years and reading what I have to say each month. It has been a pleasure writing for you and I hope that you will keep up with Debbie as she takes over from me. Please follow me on Twitter @crouchendtiger7 to keep in touch.

Take care everyone, and have a lovely Christmas and a very Happy New Year if you are celebrating them.

Care Quality Commission

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We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

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