The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has welcomed the National Audit Office’s report out today (Wednesday 22 July), which examines how it has developed and introduced its improved way of regulating providers of health and adult social care in England.
The report finds that CQC has made “substantial progress” in strengthening the way it monitors, inspects and regulates hospitals, care homes, general practices and other services across the country to make sure people get safe, high-quality and compassionate care.
However, the report also comments that CQC’s work is not yet complete and it will need to continue both its recruitment drive and its improvements to how it registers providers, in order to demonstrate its effectiveness and value for money.
David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission said: “We welcome the publication of the NAO’s report and the scrutiny it has given to how we work to make sure people in England get safe, high-quality and compassionate health and adult social care. As the independent regulator, we remain central to the delivery of this vision and we want to use transparency to drive improvement in the interests of people who use services.
“I am greatly encouraged that the NAO has recognised the substantial progress that CQC has made in developing, testing and rolling out our new inspection model, which has people at its heart and which delivers a deep insight into the quality and safety care that they are receiving.
“This has required significant staff investment both at leadership and inspection levels, as well as time to work with our partners, providers, commissioners, staff, people who use services and those who represent them to get our approach right.
“We know we are not at the end of this journey and that there is more to be done. In particular, recruiting, training and supporting our staff is a key priority of ours, as is a complete overhaul to our registration process for providers to improve its efficiency and overall experience.
“We appreciate that our model is still maturing, having inspected less than 10% of providers by the end of the period of time that the NAO’s report focuses on. We hope that providers, and importantly people who use their services, are seeing the benefits of our inspections so far, which allow us to root out bad practice and to identify and celebrate what is working well better than ever before. We are confident that this, and being open about what we are finding, will lead to real change and improvement. We are determined to demonstrate our impact and to deliver value for money.
“We take the NAO’s report seriously and together with our Board, will consider its recommendations in full.”
Over the last three years, CQC has improved how it monitors, inspects and regulates health and adult social care in England and it completely changed its leadership team. This has included a new chief executive and appointing chief inspectors of adult social care (Andrea Sutcliffe), of general practice (Prof Steve Field), and of hospitals (Prof Sir Mike Richards), who are leading specialist and expert teams for their sectors.
Inspections and other actions are based on what matters most to people who use services – whether they are safe, caring, effective, responsive to their needs, and well-led. For most services, these then lead to ratings of Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, and Inadequate to help people make informed choices about their care and to highlight where improvements need to be made.
Yesterday, CQC published its Annual report and accounts 2014/15, which revealed that around 65% of the services rated deliver good or outstanding care, with the remainder either requiring improvement or inadequate. Over 70% of providers reported that their inspections gave them information that helped them improve their service.
CQC has introduced its regulatory changes as part of its strategy for 2013-16, Raising standards; putting people first, of which it is in its final year. CQC’s business plan for 2015/16 sets out in more detail what it is working towards in relation to recruitment, registration improvement and when it expects to complete its inspections by using its new approach. This also details CQC’s ambitions for where it sees regulation of health and adult social care in England going in future.