CQC reveals fee hikes for 2016/17

30 Mar 16

NHS trusts, GP practices and adult social care providers face hefty increases in the registration and inspection fees they pay to the Care Quality Commission from today.

The health and care watchdog has announced the outcome of a consultation on the fees it charges providers as it moves to a full cost recovery funding model and grapples with a reduction in central government grant.

While responses to the consultation had a favoured shifting to full-cost recovery over four years, the CQC said the level of grant-in-aid available to it for 2016/17 meant it has to pursue a shorter, two-year timeframe for all providers except dental practices and home care providers.

Following the change, an NHS trust with an income between £125m and £225m will face a £58,656 fee increase, while a single-location GP practice with 5,001-10,000 patients will face a £1,849 fee hike.

The extra cost for a care home with 26-30 residents will be £451, and £573 for a single-location community social care provider, such as a home care agency.

This increase for agencies is part of a four-year trajectory towards full cost recovery for the sector, while fees for general dental practices will be unchanged in 2016/17 as the full chargeable cost of their regulation has already been recovered.

CQC chief executive David Behan said: “We understand that the scheme that has been put forward is not the one the majority of those who took part in our consultation would have preferred.

“In order to achieve our requirement to the government and commitment to the taxpayer, we need to work towards reaching full cost recovery while reducing our overall budget by at least £32m.”

He added that the CQC wanted to develop its approach over the next five years so that providers get better value from the watchdog, and would do more to share data and highlight good practice.

“The fee paid by providers is the charge for entering and remaining in a regulated sector,” said Behan.

“The public deserves nothing less than safe, high-quality and compassionate health and adult social care, and we must continue to act in their best interests.”

But the CQC’s announcement drew unhappy responses from provider representatives.

NHS Confederation chief executive Rob Webster warned that the CQC’s decision to move to full cost recovery over two years, rather than the preferred four, risked jeopardising the goodwill of NHS organisations.

“This major hike in fees will leave a sour taste for our members, who will not be able to recognise how their views were reflected in the final decision taken,” he said.

At NHS Providers, head of policy Miriam Deakin said it was “particularly disappointing” that the CQC was electing to move to full cost recovery over two years.

“Not only does this go against the majority outcome of their recent consultation, but it comes at a time when the provider sector faces unprecedented financial challenge. The increase in fees will be the equivalent of a trust losing two senior nursing posts over the two years,” she said.

The CQC said it will publish a calculator on its website to help providers work out their exact fees for 2016/17.

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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