Health and social care watchdog’s revamped approach ‘too diverse’

27 Sep 18

The Care Quality Commission should come up with a more bespoke approach to inspection to improve the regulatory process, a health think-tank has suggested.

The CQC’s new ‘Ofsted-style’ inspection and rating regime could be improved by tailoring inspections to the different sectors it regulates, according to the King’s Fund.

The think-tanks’s analysis, released today, found “significant differences in how CQC’s inspection and ratings work across the four sectors it regulates” - acute hospitals, mental health, general practice and social care.

Ruth Robertson, report author and senior fellow at the King’s Fund, said the CQC had completed a “herculean task” by changing the way it inspects services in 2013 but added that the research “uncovered frustrations” with CQC’s methods.

“We found that CQC’s approach works in different ways in different parts of the health and care system.”

She added: “We recommend that CQC develops its approach in different ways in different parts of the health system with a focus on how it can have the biggest impact on quality.”

The study, funded by the National Institute for Health research, concluded acute and mental health providers were more likely to have the capacity to improve and had better access to external improvement support than general practice and social care providers.

The King’s Fund also suggested that the CQC should focus less on large, intensive, infrequent inspections and more on regular, less formal ones.

More investment in recruitment and training of its the CQC workforce was neeeded, the think-tank suggested. It also called for providers to encourage their staff to engage openly with inspection teams.

Kieran Walshe, report author and professor of health policy and management at Alliance Manchester Business School, the University of Manchester, said: “[The] CQC can now build on its experience and database from the first full cycle of inspection and rating, to create a more targeted and responsive regulatory model.

“But the CQC cannot do this alone- it is just as much up to the health and social care providers, and other stakeholders like NHS England and NHS Improvement, to make regulation work in improving services for patients.”

Ian Trenholm, CQC chief executive, said: “We welcome the findings of this report on the regulatory model we introduced in 2013, the recommendations it offers and the support it gives to the changes we have already made and are continuing to make in line with our strategy.

“We are already placing greater emphasis on relationship management, the development of system-wide approaches to monitoring quality, and the introduction of CQC insight and intelligence driven assessment.

“In an environment of pressure and change, we’ll continue to evolve our model to support the system to improve - and take action to protect people where necessary.”

Did you enjoy this article?