The CQC’s annual State of Care report was published on Friday (17 October). While the devil is in the detail, older people and their families will be understandably horrified by the headlines screaming about the ‘appalling failings in elderly care’.

Undoubtedly there are care homes that provide high quality support but it’s the failures that capture the attention, and sadly the failures and the negative headlines haven’t changed much over the years.

Why? We’re trying to improve a model that doesn’t work. In other markets, people create new products, they innovate and evolve but the care sector in the UK has remained static.

The CQC found ‘significant variations in the quality of adult social care’ and that people living in nursing homes experienced poorer care than those living in residential care homes with no nursing provision. What’s more, they said the differences hadn’t changed over the last three years.

This lack of change and failure will continue to happen while care homes focus on systems and procedures rather than people and relationships. We need to stop thinking that care homes are the answer because the truth is, we don’t need them. We need something different.

In a speech to The King’s Fund, Simon Stevens, CEO NHS England, said:

“But as NHS managers we’re not just in the business of performance; as NHS leaders we’re in the business of change. As the legendary Peter Drucker put it: ‘There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.’ That means constantly asking: why are we doing it like this? Is there a better way?”

So, if we want older people to live happy and well, with love and companionship in their lives, a new approach is needed. Let’s focus our efforts on creating new models that provide real choice for the octogenarians plus for the 21st century.