A network of local and regional Quality Surveillance Groups (QSGs) will be created to identify and resolve failings in the quality of NHS and social care.
A consultation document from the National Quality Board (NQB) outlines the new system for safeguarding quality from April 2013.
The QSGs will be supported by the NHS Commissioning Board, but “the system will need to manage itself” without any central authority.
The NQB brings together all national organisations concerned with the quality of healthcare, including the CQC, NICE, Monitor and the Commissioning Board.
According to Quality in the new health system – Maintaining and improving quality from April 2013, quality is a systemic principle that has to be supported at all levels of the NHS.
However, the decentralised nature of the new NHS creates the need for a means to share intelligence about quality – hence the new QSGs, which will act as “a virtual team” across the health and social care system.
Local QSGs will include local commissioners (from CCGs, the Board and local government), local Healthwatch and representatives of Monitor and the CQC.
The NHSCB will provide “a support and facilitation role” for local and regional QSGs, chairing meetings and providing records.
Problems will not be referred to any higher authority: “the system will need to manage itself”. The existing ‘risk summit’ model will be used, but which organisation takes charge of dealing with the problem will depend on the circumstances.
The consultation period ends on 30 September 2012, and the NQB’s final version of the new regulations will take account of the conclusions of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust enquiry.