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09.12.16

CQC must show value for money to ‘retain credibility’ with NHS Confed members

The CQC must do more to demonstrate it delivers value for money and is capable of assessing new models of care, NHS Confederation has argued.

In a written submission to the Health Select Committee’s inquiry into the future of the regulator, the Confed said that its members broadly supported the CQC’s new 2016-21 strategy. Its most recent survey showed that 94% of members supported the idea of fewer and more risk-based inspections.

However, the submission noted that it was “disappointing” that the CQC was only planning a modest reduction in operating income, despite the fact that the reduction in inspections would already cost less.

NHS Confed called it crucial that the inspectorate demonstrates it is delivering value for money if it is to “retain credibility” with NHS organisations.

The body also warned that the CQC’s decision to introduce a steep inspection fee hike on a two-year trajectory “risked jeopardising the goodwill” of its members, 92% of whom supported a four-year trajectory, towards a new inspection model.

It added that greater value for money could also be delivered by meeting the “urgent need” for greater alignment between arm’s-length bodies and the requirements they place on the NHS.

But in an appearance before the House of Lords NHS Sustainability Committee this week, Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, argued the CQC was already seeking to work more closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The NHS Confed evidence also revealed that 69% of its members felt the CQC was not making sufficient process in supporting new models of care, and 76% claimed it wasn’t supporting innovative approaches.

Almost 85% of its members supported changing assessments so that they target health economies instead of individual providers, with many warning that the CQC’s current approach blames providers for problems which are outside their control.

Other concerns raised about the CQC were that its use of single-word ratings for complex providers was “almost meaningless”; that delays in publishing reports meant that their conclusions “may no longer be relevant”; and that its approach was targeted towards acute care and was not appropriate for mental health care.

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