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07.12.16

Behan: CQC to rate NHS trusts on ‘value for money’ in the future

The CQC and NHS Improvement are discussing introducing a framework for assessing the value for money of NHS services, the regulator’s chief executive told the Health Select Committee yesterday.

David Behan said that a consultation on the proposals would be published after it was approved by the CQC board later in December.

“We will be building in a value-for-money assessment as part of our process of rating NHS trusts,” he said.

Responding to questions about the role of community interest companies in providing care, Behan added that the assessment would originally apply to trusts, and then to other organisations.

The latest King’s Fund quarterly monitoring report showed that a third of NHS trusts predict they will miss their financial control totals this year.

Behan repeated the CQC’s warning in its annual State of Care report that social care is approaching a “tipping point”, owing to providers failing to improve, increasing levels of unmet demand, and a growing risk of providers collapsing.

“We’re not saying it will fall to pieces next year, but we are saying there a number of things happening here which, in combination, Parliament needs to debate,” he said.

Last month’s Autumn Statement was criticised for failing to include any new funding for the NHS and social care despite warnings of acute financial shortfalls.

Behan said that Care UK was among the large providers warning that they couldn’t deliver services at the current costs. He added that 52 large providers were already in the CQC improvement programme, although he couldn’t name them because of commercial sensitivity.

The CQC boss also warned that some care homes are approaching level 6, the most severe CQC intervention, where the regulator warns the local council that the provider is breaching its legal responsibilities.

However, he said the regulator was limited in how it could respond, especially in relation to the small care homes who are now at risk of handing back contracts. Furthermore, he called it “significant” that there was “no improvement capacity” for social care, because there was no NHS Improvement-style body with the power to intervene in failing providers.

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