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CQC’s inspection methods ‘could be more effective’

What aspects of the CQC‘s inspection regime does a King‘s Fund review criticise?

An evaluation of the Care Quality Commission’s ‘Ofsted-style’ inspection regime, introduced in 2013, states that, despite it being a ‘significant improvement’ on what it replaced, it could be more effective.

The report highlights a number of areas for improvement in CQC’s approach to regulation.

Alliance Manchester Business School and the King’s Fund undertook the review between 2015 and 2018. They focused it on acute care, mental health care, general practice and adult social care in six areas of England.

The report argues that CQC should invest more in the recruitment and training of its workforce. It calls on providers to encourage staff to engage with inspection teams.

It adds that the focus on inspection and rating may have ‘crowded out’ other activity which might have more impact; and it recommends that the CQC focuses less on ‘large, intensive but infrequent inspections and more on regular, less formal contact with providers, helping to drive improvement before, during and after inspections’.

Ruth Robertson, report author and senior fellow at the King’s Fund said: ‘Although we heard general support for their new approach, we also uncovered frustrations with the process, some unintended consequences and clear room for improvement.’

The new regime was introduced in the wake of the Francis report into failures of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Further information

King’s Fund: CQC inspection regime having an impact but there is room for improvement, landmark report finds

King’s Fund: Impact of the Care Quality Commission on provider performance: room for improvement?

NHS England: Five year forward view