The CQC will search for positive and negative comments about GP services on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, in order to discover the ‘reality’ of the care that patients are receiving, said the regulator today.
Launching a document which lays out their strategy and purpose for the next three years in response to the report into the failings identified in the Francis Inquiry in Mid Staffordshire Foundation NHS Trust, the regulator said it wanted to ensure they were responding to patient concerns more effectively.
The report also said it would introduce a ‘more robust’ test for new primary care providers applying for registration, although a CQC spokesperson confirmed that GP practices that have already registered would not be affected by the new process.
It also said that a proposed chief inspector of primary and integrated care will look at patients’ experiences as they move between different services. Jeremy Hunt announced in February that he was considering plans for a chief inspector to provide an ‘expert view’ of primary care to mirror the appointment of chief inspectors for hospitals, to uphold standards and make the final call when a practice is failing.
As Pulse revealed last week, the report also said when inspecting providers, practices will be judged on five domains, with inspectors asking whether practices are safe, effective, caring, well-led and responsive to people’s needs.
The CQC said it will develop new fundamental standards focusing on these five areas, although a ‘judgement’ element will be introduced to avoid ticking the box, but missing other factors.
They confirmed that the frequency of inspections will increase as the perceived risk of harm to patients increases. The regulator said it will also develop a series of ‘triggers’ which will allow it to predict future problems with services, and allow it make better decision about when, where and what to inspect.
The report also re-iterated a commitment to a better use of information, meaning information sources such as the ‘Friends and Family Test’ and reviews carried out by others will be used to inform their regulatory work.
The CQC strategy said: ‘We will make it easier for people to tell us about the reality of the care they receive and we will improve how we respond to and report on how their views and experiences have informed our work. We will focus on gathering the views of people in the most vulnerable circumstances.
‘We will search for both positive and negative comments on what is being said about services, including social media (for example, Facebook and Twitter) and other digital media such as or website. We will make sure that the full potential of the results of the ‘Friends and Family Test’ and other similar information is used in our work.’
It added that they will consider working with other agencies to carry out inspections, and will work with NICE to make sure they are clear about the measures used in assessments.
David Behan, CQC chief executive, said: ‘People have a right to expect safe, effective, compassionate, high quality care. CQC plays a vital role in making sure that care services meet those expectations.
‘We recognise that quality care cannot be achieved by inspection and regulation alone – that lies with care professionals, clinical staff, providers and those who arrange and fund local services – but we will set a bar below which no provider must fall and a rating which will encourage and drive improvement.
‘In developing our plans for the next three years we have looked closely at what we do and listened to what others have told us, to make sure we focus on what matters to them. The plans also take account of Robert Francis’s report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and the response by the Secretary of State for Health.’
Pulse Live: 30 April – 1 May, Birmingham
Find out the six key threats to your practice from April 2013 at Pulse Live, Pulse’s new two-day annual conference for GPs, practice managers and primary care managers, will cover the latest developments in telehealth.
Pulse Live offers practical advice on key clinical and practice business topics, as well as an opportunity to debate the future of the profession, and a top range of speakers includes NICE chair designate Professor David Haslam, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey and the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, chair of the House of Commons health committee.
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