The CQC is to roll out a new assessment framework from November, which will still involve ratings and five ‘key questions’.
The new framework will be rolled out regionally, starting with providers in the South of England, including Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex and Wiltshire.
It will then be rolled out to other regions by the end of March next year.
The new assessment will continue to use 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 will introduce six new ‘evidence categories’ to organise information under the statements.
These new categories are:
- People’s experience of health and care services
- Feedback from staff and leaders
- Feedback from partners
The quality statements will focus on ‘specific topic areas’ under key question, setting ‘clear expectations of providers, based on people’s experiences and the standards of care they expect’, which will replace their key lines of enquiry (KLOEs), prompts and ratings characteristics.
In an update to providers, the CQC said: ‘We’ll still schedule assessments by considering the level of risk, so not all providers will need to have an immediate assessment.
‘In other regions, we will continue to use our current assessment framework for now. The new assessment framework will be rolled out to other regions by the end of March 2024, and we will provide further updates as each region moves over to using the new framework.’
CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm said: ‘Making our interactions with providers more streamlined and simpler is central in supporting them to deliver better care.
‘Our new assessment approach will be more flexible and proportionate, and will be the driving force behind giving an up-to-date view of quality.’
The regulator said that it has updated its guidance for providers with the new changes and encouraged all providers to read it to be prepared for the changes.
Providers will be notified of when this new assessment framework will affect them.
The CQC unveiled details of reduced inspections for GP practices at the start of this year to allow NHS staff to ‘focus on delivering for patients‘ during winter pressures. It said it would ‘respond to only the most serious risks where there is a high risk of harm to people.’
Last month, a Government survey found that the CQC inspection process may be ‘disproportionate’, although the incredibly low response rate hampered conclusions.