Care Quality Commission to Evolve Inspection System

The Care Quality Commission is planning to cross the threshold of NHS trusts for inspections at least once annually, according to the chair of the regulator.

This is part of an overall shifting strategy for decommissioning.

The CQC is moving to a risk-based inspection regime as part of its strategy to manage its shrinking budget, which will see it target resources where the “risk to the quality of care is greatest”.

Previously the Care Quality Commission had been criticised in some quarters for its overly stringent targets and assessment of institutions.

Speaking at the Commons Health Committee on Wednesday, CQC chair Peter Wyman reflected on in the future strategy of the CQC.

“Our intention is there will be an inspection, perhaps not a comprehensive inspection, once a year.”

He added that this view was the “current thinking” of the CQC, but it was due to go out to consultation on its approach before Christmas.

Wyman indicated that the Care Quality Commission will be examining GP surgeries that are rated as good or outstanding roughly every three to five years, owing to the fact that these organisations require less assessments.

Meanwhile, those rated inadequate will be inspected “very frequently…more than once a year”.

Adult social care providers will be inspected every two years or very frequently based on their rating.

The Care Quality Commission has also signalled its intention to involve itself in two further consultations before Christmas.

According by the Care Quality Commission, the first of these will assess hospital inspections and the assessment framework which currently overarches these institutions.

And the second will be jointly conducted with NHS Improvement, focusing on the most efficient way for trusts to use resources and engage in organisation.

Although the joint consultation is also due to be released before Christmas, Wyman indicated this deadline may not be met.

“Consultation will hopefully be out this side of Christmas, the new year if not, with the view to start to pilot this in April,” Wyman outlined.

The utilisation of resources was previously noted to be a concern in the November board papers released by the Care Quality Commission.

“We continue to work with NHSI to understand their proposed assessment approach including how they intend to operationalise the assessment. Until this is in place there is a risk about our ability to consult jointly in December at the level of detail needed to allow publication of full guidance in April 2017, and begin implementation from that point as we have committed,” the documents read.


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