The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has proposed changes that will enable it to deal with ongoing challenges from the pandemic and move towards its ambition to be a more dynamic, proportionate and flexible regulator.
The health and social care watchdog said it wants to introduce changes to allow it to assess and rate services more flexibly, so it can update its ratings more often, and make ratings easier to understand for everyone.
The CQC is also proposing changes that will make its ratings for GP services and NHS trusts simpler and more relevant for people who use services. However, it is not proposing any changes to how it aggregates ratings in adult social care at the moment.
The regulator said the way it currently consults and engages on any changes to its methods is a long process and means it can’t implement changes and tell its stakeholders about them quickly enough.
Going forward, it will hear people’s views constantly through a range of ways, making it easier for it to design solutions together with all its stakeholders in real-time as it develops its future ways of regulating.
The CQC said there will be fewer large-scale formal consultations, but more on-going opportunities to contribute as it’ll engage in different ways.
Ian Trenholm, CQC chief executive, said: ‘The world of health and social care has changed significantly since we were established nearly a decade ago as an independent regulator, not least in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘To continue to make sure we meet the needs of the people who use services and the providers we regulate, we need to change too.
‘We’ve learned a lot from our response to the pandemic so far, and we’re using this to put us in a better place for the future and support services to keep people safe.
‘Your views and feedback have been invaluable as we’ve developed our strategy. We’d also like to hear what you think of our proposals for more flexible and responsive regulation so we can make sure the changes we make work for everyone.’
Responding to the launch of the consultation, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said it will work with leaders to contribute to the consultation.
‘This is a key opportunity to realign regulatory structures towards the more lean, light, and agile ways of working brought about by the Covid-19 crisis.
‘The CQC’s ambitions will appeal to health leaders, who have been calling for a more dynamic, flexible, and proportionate approach to regulation. We will work with leaders to contribute actively to the consultation.
‘Health leaders have told us they sometimes feel they don’t have the opportunity to improve ratings other than during full inspections.
‘There are also concerns about the lag between inspections and the publication of ratings, meaning judgements can become outdated. Moves to accelerate that and streamline ratings will be well-received.
‘A more responsive system would help foster transformation and start to put into practice some of the valuable insights and lessons learnt gained during the pandemic.’
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