Nursing homes are to be subjected to more rigorous inspections and those that fail to do so risk losing public funding, under new plans to be unveiled on Monday.
The new “excellence tests” will assess care home for their staff training, daily resident activities and the quality of care that is offered to patients.
Ministers want to overhaul the care system, making it more transparent for patients and their families.
All staff working for “excellent” nursing homes will be required to register with a new Health and Care Workers Professions Council.
Those that fail to submit to such tests risk losing their public funding. The results of the tests will be published to provide families better information about individual homes.
The scheme will start out as optional and the cost of the inspections will be borne by the care homes.
More than half a million elderly people are in nursing homes and that number is expected to rise to 1.3 million by 2050.
Details of the “excellence tests” will be published by the Care Quality Commission on Monday.
“CQC’s role is to identify and react to signs that people may be at risk of receiving poor care,” its chief executive, Cynthia Bower, told The Independent before publication.
“But this is not the same as saying other provider are offering ‘excellent’ care.
“An excellence award can recognise best practice, be a spur to improvement for providers who already meet CQC’s essential standards, and can help people who need longer-term care to make choices.”
Later in the year the Government will unveil long-term plans for reforming the care sector.
Paul Burstow, the Care Services minister, has said good-quality care was not always about money.
“Compassion, common sense, treating people with dignity and respect are not simply about spending more,” he said.