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By Debbie le Quesne

CQC: Deadline looms for our comments

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Remember, remember the . . . 25th of November. Okay, I know it’s not quite right, but I hope the adapted Bonfire Night rhyme will help you mark a very important date.

 It’s a date which could have huge influence on the future of Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in our business.

The Commission has published a consultative document outlining the fees that it proposes to charge providers in 2014/15 – and it wants our feedback on the plans. The consultation closes on Monday, 25 November, so the deadline is scarily close.

Please . . . we have to make the time to be involved in this. We are the only real barometer of opinion the CQC will measure and to do that we must respond to their invitation. It will give no platform to grumble at the changes if we have not had our say.

Under the proposal, fees for all health and social care providers, will increase by 2.5 per cent. Not good on the heels of massive hikes in the prices of electricity and gas.

The fees will help continue to fund the commission’s essential regulatory work, we are informed, and yes I do know I have blogged about it before.

Reported in a number of publications, David Prior, chair of the CQC said: “We do not underestimate the impact on providers of paying fees, especially in the current economic climate, and we will continue to look carefully at our costs relating to regulation.

“As an organisation, we have a responsibility to cover our costs by charging fees, but we are also accountable for demonstrating that we are fair, efficient, effective and proportionate.”

Changes to the fees structure involve altering the bandings for residential care home providers to reduce what is known as the ‘cliff edge’ effect, that occurs when providers are pushed into a higher fee band through a small increase in the size of their service.

My biggest concern is that the cliff edge is perilously close to too many providers already and the tipping point is not being driven by CQC, but rather the spiralling costs of overheads.

Don’t forget you have until November 25. The online questionnaire is found at at:

http://www.cqc.org.uk/public/sharing-your-experience/consultations/fees-consultation-2014/15

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