Care Quality Commission
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CQC to begin work on assessing use of resources in NHS hospitals

The Secretary of State for Health has asked CQC's Chief Inspector of Hospitals to look at use of resources as part of his inspections of NHS hospitals. This work – which will be developed as part of CQC's new strategy for 2016 onwards – will focus on organisations' ability to deliver high quality patient care that is also efficient and sustainable.

At a time of tighter public finances combined with an ageing population, it is critical that good hospital care is both person-centred and cost effective. This enhanced approach will enable valuable learning about using resources more effectively while improving patient care to be shared across the system.

David Behan, Chief Executive of CQC, said: "CQC's focus will always be on quality and safety – and effective use of resources is increasingly recognised as a key element of quality. We'll be working with partners, patient organisations, stakeholders, providers, commissioners and our staff to develop a common, comparable measure of the use of resources in the NHS – so that our judgments of hospitals' performance are informed by assessments of patient care and use of resources alongside each other.

"This is a logical progression of our work into an area which we already have a legal remit to look at – and it will give us the ability to see the whole picture of performance, which can only be good news for patients."

Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC's Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: "We're still in the early stages – with partners including Monitor, the Trust Development Authority and NHS England – of thinking about how to build measures around use of resources into our inspections. But I believe that the increased transparency this will bring will help hospitals to identify where they can become more efficient – and will enable CQC to share learning about delivering high quality, cost effective care across the NHS."

CQC will be working closely with partners to develop this enhanced approach, building on existing efficiency metrics. The enhanced approach will go out to public consultation as part of CQC's future strategy in December 2015. In developing this strategy, CQC will also work with partners to consider what it means to deliver value for money across local health and care systems, as well as in individual providers across other sectors, and how this can be encouraged.

It is likely that the enhanced approach will be piloted in NHS trusts and foundation trusts from April 2016; these organisations, as large publicly funded organisations, have a particular duty to consider how well they are using resources. CQC already monitors the financial health of large, difficult-to-replace adult social care providers, but the NHS trust sector requires a different methodology. There will therefore be an initial focus on developing an assessment of the use of resources in NHS trusts and foundation trusts, but consideration will also be given to how a wider approach could be applied in the future for the other sectors CQC regulates.

CQC has a legal remit under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 to encourage the efficient and effective use of resources by health and social care providers and so will not need new legislation to take forward this work.

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Notes to editors

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.


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