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CQC to bring in external consultants as inspections still behind target

The CQC is due to bring in external consultants from next year as it continues to struggle to meet its targets to produce reports on time.

According to a paper by chief executive David Behan published ahead of the regulator’s board meeting on 14 December, no directorate is meeting its objectives for the timeliness of reports.

The CQC has highlighted this problem before, but the executive team has now agreed to source external consultants to “re-examine the issue of report timeliness from an independent perspective” for each directorate, starting in January next year. This is in addition to improvement objectives in each directorate.

According to the latest figures, in October 2016 no reports were published for providers with three or more core services, and just 16% were published within target for the year so far. Just 28% of reports for providers with less than three services were published so far.

In the year so far, less than two-thirds of primary medical care reports were published on time against a 70% target.

In October, 81% of adult social care figures were published against a 90% target, although the rate has been improving for the past five quarters.

Similarly, the CQC’s target is to register 90% of services within 50 working days, but only 81% of social care providers, 87% of hospitals and 85% of primary medical services were registered.

Another major concern was that over half of providers failed to improve their CQC rating upon re-inspection, with 45% maintain the same rating and 10% deteriorating.

Behan’s report noted that, following the State of Care report, the CQC has found that “good leadership” was a crucial quality to improvement. Key factors included leaders who were “visible and accountable to staff”, engaged with partners and promoted an “open and positive” culture.

However, the CQC said that it would look at its own role in helping providers improve their ratings as part of a consultation, due to start in March 2017, on planned changes to social care and primary care regulation.

The CEO’s report also revealed that it is “highly likely” that the CQC will complete its comprehensive inspection programme of all providers by January, ahead of the March target.

It said that the regulator would review why some services improve and others do not as part of a review of what it has learned from completing the inspections.

Separately, the Health Select Committee is carrying out its own review of the CQC. NHS Confederation told the review last week that the regulator must do more to demonstrate value for money.

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