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Government set to review CQC ‘effectiveness’

Government set to review CQC ‘effectiveness’

The CQC is set to face a review into its ‘operational effectiveness’, the Department of Health has said.

The ‘focused review’ will be led by North West London ICS chair Penny Dash, who has been appointed by DHSC on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

It forms part of the the Cabinet Office’s Public Bodies Review programme, which was launched in 2022, with the aim of reviewing 125 public bodies and saving the taxpayer around £800m over three years.

The review is ‘standard procedure’ under the programme, according to the Government.

The DHSC declined to provide Pulse with the full terms of reference for the review, but according to the HSJ, which first reported the story, it will look at:

  • the effectiveness of CQC’s ratings and whether these are incentivising the improvement of care
  • how the watchdog is taking into account service users
  • how the CQC’s new assessment framework, which was rolled out in November, is working.

CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm said: ‘We welcome this review and look forward to working with the appointed team.

‘We recognise how important scrutiny of regulation is – we want the public and our stakeholders to have assurance that the effectiveness of our approach has been independently assessed, so that they can have confidence in our judgements of quality.’

It comes after a Government survey found that the CQC inspection process may be ‘disproportionate’, although the incredibly low response rate hampered conclusions.

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All 51,000 providers registered with the CQC were given access to a survey as part of a post implementation review but only 86 responded and only 36 of those were NHS providers.

The DHSC also launched a consultation last month seeking views on changes to CQC regulations.

As it stands, the regulations that give CQC power to oversee services are set to expire in 2025 but the Government is proposing to remove this in favour of five-yearly reviews.

It said that the purpose of removing the expiry date is to ‘ensure CQC continues to have regulatory oversight’ of the health and care sector, and inserting a five-yearly review clause would mean ‘regular reviews’ of the regulations to ensure ‘they remain fit for purpose’.

The CQC started to roll out its new assessment framework from November last year.

It currently still uses five key questions (safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led) and a four-point ratings scale (outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate) but as part of the changes, the CQC introduced six new ‘evidence categories’ to organise information under the statements.

These new categories include people’s experience of health and care services, feedback from staff and leaders, feedback from partners, observation, processes and outcomes.

Last year, the CQC was criticised for quoting a lack of capacity to meet patient demand among the reasons for placing a group of GP practices in special measures.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Nick Mann 8 May, 2024 7:04 pm

Review by Dash to include more regulation for ‘cultural and sporting’ events/activities. Particular reference to private ambulance providers and a passing reference to their use of unqualified staff in medical roles. However, the Government justifies increased CQC regulation stating:
“This unregulated care has, in some cases, resulted in serious harm to individuals receiving treatment.” …but the reference doesn’t find anything of the sort.

I’m not against proper regulation of private ambulance providers, but I lack the trust in decisions by DHSC, the documents provided – or the appointed review by NWL Penny Dash’s McKinsey connection. Governance with zero buy-in – great leadership.

Ps: CQC will not regulate safety of unqualified staff who perform medical roles in outsourced private ambulances (suggesting eg treatment of patients with epileptic seizures). Make it make sense.

Bonglim Bong 8 May, 2024 8:53 pm

Currently totally unfit for purpose. Registering a new organisation now takes way too long. Applications in October were told 12 weeks – but are only just getting to the top of the pile – which is more than twice as long.

A practice failing that much would be inadequate, in special measures, and possibly shut down.

Jonathan Heatley 9 May, 2024 5:49 am

I was tempted to set up a new primary care service (private) and won’t consider it, due to the regulatory CQC load, It is stifling innovation, which our failing health service badly needs

Yes Man 9 May, 2024 7:06 am

@ Jonathan Heatley, stifling innovation is the main objective.

Rogue 1 9 May, 2024 9:46 am

The NHS isnt just in decline its in free-fall. All quangos like this do is add more bricks to the empty parachute bag!

Just Your Average Joe 9 May, 2024 7:07 pm

CQC is set up with unrealistic and ridiculously high expectations, that if policed to the level demonstrated in some inspections would lead to the risk of closure of many practices. They expect audit standards no-one with any understanding of audit and reality would expect to be achieved.

Anything over 90% in achievement should merit an outstanding, especially in the environment coming out of a worldwide pandemic. Nope, I’ve heard of inspectors expecting 100% targets to be hit, with shaming where this has not been done, due to patient compliance or difficulty reaching patients despite attempts to call them in.

Lets all have realistic, safe targets that can be hit and reset the bar of CQC to be good enough, not perfect.

Cameron Wilson 9 May, 2024 8:57 pm

Should be a simple exercise- Scotland doesn’t have this nonsense and Practices there are hardly falling into Gamorrah!
However, suspect that control is the issue rather than being objective. How any self respecting GP could work for them beats me!

David Turner 10 May, 2024 9:57 am

It couldn’t happen to a nicer organisation

Yes Man 10 May, 2024 12:27 pm

CQC is not fit for purpose. They cannot shut a single surgery down fearing the domino effect to the surrounding ones. A toothless dog I say and we all know it.