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Care Quality Commission plans radical overhaul of inspection regime

The Care Quality Commission has unveiled a major shake-up of its inspection regime and plans to develop new fundamental standards in care.

Publishing its strategy for 2013 to 2016, the CQC said it would appoint a Chief Inspector of Hospitals and a Chief Inspector of Social Care and Support. It is also considering creating the role of Chief Inspector of Primary and Integrated Care.

The watchdog meanwhile plans to strengthen the protection of people whose rights have been restricted under the Mental Health Act.

“We are committed to strengthening the protection of people with learning disabilities, whether or not they are detained,” it added.

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Other key changes include:

  • ensuring inspectors specialise in particular areas of care and lead teams that include clinical and other experts, and experts by experience (people with experience of care);
  • introducing national teams in NHS hospitals that have specialist expertise to carry out in-depth reviews of hospitals with significant or long-standing problems. A programme for failing trusts will be developed;
  • improving the CQC’s understanding of how well different care services work together by listening to people’s experiences of moving between different care services;
  • introducing a more thorough test for organisations applying to provide care services. This will include ensuring that named directors, managers, and leaders of a service commit to meeting the watchdog’s standards and are tested on their ability to do so;
  • publishing better information for the public, including ratings of services.

The CQC said the changes would come into effect in NHS hospitals and mental health trusts first.

“This is because we recognise there is an urgent need for more effective inspection and regulation of these services,” it said.

The approach will then be extended and adapted to other sectors between 2014 and 2016.

The Commission stressed that it would always be “on the side of people who use care services and always put their interests first”.

David Behan, CQC chief executive, said; “People have a right to expect safe, effective, compassionate, high quality care. CQC plays a vital role in making sure that care services meet those expectations.

“We recognise that quality care cannot be achieved by inspection and regulation alone – that lies with care professionals, clinical staff, providers and those who arrange and fund local services – but we will set a bar below which no provider must fall and a rating which will encourage and drive improvement.”

Behan added: “In developing our plans for the next three years we have looked closely at what we do and listened to what others have told us, to make sure we focus on what matters to them. The plans also take account of Robert Francis’s report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and the response by the Secretary of State for Health.”

A copy of the strategy can be viewed here.


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