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By Debbie le Quesne

CQC seeking care providers’ views on new inspections

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is asking people who use and manage the running of adult social care services for their opinions on the regulator’s plans for inspecting and rating care services.

The general public is also being invited to pitch in with views along with health service professionals.

It all seems wonderfully inclusive as the commission heads for its new approach on inspections.

New elements include larger, more specialist and expert inspection teams led by chief inspectors, greater involvement in inspections by members of the public with personal experience of services, better use of information to identify risks and plan inspections, and ratings for all health and adult social care services.

A fresh consultation this week zones in on the detailed guidance on how CQC will regulate, inspect and rate NHS acute hospitals, mental health services, community health services, GP practices, out of hours services, care homes; home care services; and hospice services.

  • And the regulator wants to know your views on the following:
    The proposals for a rating system . . . CQC’s view of what a service looks like for any of the rating categories – outstanding, good, requires improvement, inadequate.
  • The questions inspectors need to ask to determine if a service is safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well-led,
  • The core services always addressed during inspections.
  • The methods used to gather information about services from the public.
  • The sources of information drawn upon to help assess risk and decide when and where to inspect – the ‘Intelligent monitoring’ tool.
  • The frequency of inspections.

Three overview documents have been published that introduced detailed draft guidance for seven different types of services: · Acute hospitals; Community health services; Domiciliary care (care in the home); NHS GP and Out of Hours services; Hospice care; Mental health services; and Residential adult social care (care homes).

CQC Chief Executive David Behan says the changes are vital to care services “provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high quality care and encourage care services to improve.”

He makes no bones about the fact that these new inspections will be on the side of service users.

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt was reported last week as saying: “A new, independent and rigorous inspection regime will give the public vital information on health and social care performance, and the Chief Inspectors will shine a light on areas where improvement is needed.

“The CQC is seeking views on important elements of their inspection programme and I would encourage patients and all other interested parties to respond. This will help to drive up quality.”

I find myself nodding at all these proposals and agreeing with many, but it appears no secret that the bar is being set ever higher at a times when funding is in crisis with regular closures of both community and residential services.

One wonders, given the current funding dearth how my members will be rated. The jury is still out on this trial . . . will it really drive up quaility – I’d suggest some extra funding would go amiss to achieve this goal.

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