The Health Committee’s recent report commends the CQC management’s efforts to ‘turn around’ the regulator.
Following their recent quarterly accountability session with the CQC, the Health Committee (HC) has released a report that commends the CQC’s progress and acknowledges its “renewed sense of purpose”.
Stephen Dorrell, chair of the HC, said the regulator “now understands that it exists to ensure that care providers meet basic standards and intervene when they do not”, welcoming the move away from “superficial” inspections that “produced reports that bore little relation to reality”.
“The CQC has been a case study in how not to run a regulator,” said Mr Dorrell, “but essential reforms implemented by the new management are turning the CQC around.”
Despite the general tone of approval for the CQC’s progress, the HC used the report to scrutinise some of the new practices, offering a number of recommendations and warnings for the regulator.
While the HC commended the recent adoption of a risk-based regulation, it warned the CQC against offering providers a reason to “regard being awarded a positive rating from the CQC as a mechanism for escaping scrutiny.”
The report also stressed the importance of using constantly-collected data on important provisions, especially inadequate staffing levels, as a trigger for inspections and suggested that the “detailed surveillance system” the CQC has put in place just the first step to gain an accurate picture of the state of services.
“The CQC must demonstrate that it can pick up on problems before they become known to the general public,” said Mr Dorrell. “If surveillance is perceived as slow, or reactive, it will not enjoy public confidence and credibility.”
The Committee raised concerns over the decision to give the CQC responsibility for overseeing the financial performance of adult social care providers, calling for the government to reconsider this decision.
The report also criticised the move to exclude chairs of NHS Trusts or Foundation Trusts from the new “fit and proper persons test” to be carried out by all care provider directors –“we do not believe this exclusion will be understood by the public,” said Mr Dorrell.
The CQC is now required to report to parliament regularly on its progress in recruiting 150 extra inspectors and will face another strategic review in three months time.