CQC Criticised – Have they put patient care at risk?

Criticism has been levelled at the Care Quality Commission for apparently putting its registration responsibilities ahead of its duty to inspect hospital trusts and social care providers.

The Pharmaceutical Journal reports today that…

Labour MP Margaret Hodge, chairman of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, accused the CQC of “significant failures that [have] put patient care at risk”. She said the organisation — which formed following the merger of three statutory regulators in 2009, and is responsible for regulating nine health profession regulatory bodies, including the General Pharmaceutical Council — is too focused on “box ticking, and not enough on crossing the threshold and assuring quality of care”.

Her comments follow a report on the CQC published last week (2 December 2011) by the National Audit Office, which concludes that the commission is an underfunded organisation chasing to catch up with Government inspection targets.

Between October 2010 and April 2011, the CQC was struggling to meet its inspection obligations and had achieved only 47 per cent of them, the NAO report says. Despite working with a budget smaller than the combined budgets of the organisations it replaced, the CQC also fails to represent value for money, the report adds.

Commission has since taken steps to improve

NAO comptroller and auditor general Amyas Morse welcomed steps the CQC has since taken to improve its service, adding: “Against a backdrop of considerable upheaval, the CQC has had an uphill struggle to carry out its work effectively and has experienced serious difficulties.

“There is a gap between what the public and providers expect and what [the CQC] can achieve. The commission and the Department of Health should make clear what successful regulation of this critical sector would look like.”

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said the commission faced a “difficult task” in its infancy, but is now on track to deliver real benefits for people who use health and social care services.

Here’s the report from the National Audit Office

 

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