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CQC: Timescales for publishing inspection reports remains challenging

The CQC missed a number of key targets for publishing reports following inspection of NHS services last year, the organisation’s annual reports and accounts for 2016-17 has revealed.

In the document, it was revealed that for hospitals, only 16% of reports for independent health and focused NHS inspections of less than three core services were completed within the 50 day time frame.

And for NHS hospital inspections with three or more core services, the figure achieved by the CQC was even lower, at 12%.

“It is very important that inspection reports are published to a high quality, and as quickly as possible to ensure members of the public can make decisions about care, and providers understand what they need to do to if they have to improve,” the report said.

“However, publishing inspection reports within agreed timescales remained a significant challenge during the year.”

The regulator also acknowledged this area as somewhere to target for continued improvement, and that it would work to improve going into next year.  

However, the CQC did report a number of successes. Against the back drop of a reducing budget from £249m in 2015-16 to £236m this year, the efficiency of the CQC’s systems was improved.

This led to revenue expenditure standing at £226.2m in 2016-17, £12.4m less than the CQC spent the year before. As budgets are expected to be slashed even further, the CQC said it was aiming to bring its spending down to £217m by 2019-20.

“2016-17 was an important year for CQC as we delivered our business plan, including completing our comprehensive inspection and ratings programme,” Sir David Behan, chief executive of the CQC. “As a result, we now have a robust baseline of quality across health and social care and a strong foundation on which to build our next phase of regulation.

“Our ratings allow us to highlight improvements and identify excellence as well as pin point where action is needed.”

Sir David also stated that the organisation wanted to be “a catalyst for changes” that improve the quality of care, and he said he was encouraged that despite the considerable challenges facing each sector, improvements in quality have been achieved.

“People who use services, as well as their families and carers, have every right to expect nothing less,” Sir David argued. “As we look ahead, we need to adapt and develop to meet the new and continued challenges in the health and social care system, while still making important organisational cost savings.

“At all times, we remain committed to acting independently and being on the side of people who use services, their families and their carers.”

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