CQC's response to the Health Select Committee report
13 Sep 2011 03:02 PM
The Committee’s report highlights the major challenges CQC has faced in merging three existing regulators, setting up a new regulatory model, and registering more than 39,000 provider locations - including previously unregulated sectors - against aggressive Parliamentary deadlines and with a 30% budget reduction . We know registration has been a difficult process for everyone involved, which is why we asked the Secretary of State to delay registration of GPs by a year to allow us to improve the way we do it – and to allow our staff to dedicate more time to inspection.
Inspection figures are now rising rapidly again - in Q1 (April-June) of this year we published 2, 527 inspection reports on NHS and social care providers - this compares to 886 reports published in Q3 of 2010/11, when we were still in the process of completing registration of all 24,000 social care locations. We have recruited or are in the final stages of recruiting 100 new inspectors since the Government recruitment freeze was lifted. We have also put a case to the Department of Health for extra funds to further increase the number of inspectors, so that we can carry out an unannounced inspection of every hospital and care home in England once a year from 1 April 2012. Discussions with the Department of Health are ongoing and form part of our 2012/13 budget planning.
We are about to launch a consultation on changes to the way we regulate - these changes will simplify, strengthen and improve the way we inspect providers and how we take action where standards are not being met. As noted by the Committee, we are also increasingly using 'experts by experience' in our inspections - an approach which we used very successfully in our targeted 'Dignity and Nutrition' inspection programme of 100 acute hospitals earlier this year.
We welcome the Committee’s recommendations on the need to further incorporate the concerns of sector professionals, and those who use services, into the information we use to make a judgement about a provider - and have already increased our focus on this area. We will be launching a campaign later this autumn to encourage healthcare professionals to raise concerns with CQC directly - with the assurance that we will treat these concerns in confidence and will act swiftly where necessary. Our new website, which launches next month, will allow the public to compare services and make informed choices, and will give people who use services the chance to comment about their care, with these comments feeding into the overall picture we hold on every provider and which informs our assessment of risk.
Our Chair will be responding formally and in detail to the Committee.