The CQC intends to encourage services to innovate and collaborate in order to drive improvement, while ensuring that people continue to receive good, safe care.
Launching its new five-year strategy, the regulator said its approach would evolve to reflect the changing ways providers deliver care against the backdrop of increasing demand and financial pressure.
Shaping the Future describes how the CQC use of information from the public, providers, other regulators and oversight bodies in order to target resources more effectively to where risk to the quality of care provided is greatest, or to where quality is likely to have changed.
In practice, this will mean more use of targeted unannounced inspections, based on information that is constantly updated – for example, if there is a sudden spike in people reporting poor care from a particular service.
It would also mean longer intervals between inspections for services rated good or outstanding if they can continue to demonstrate that they are providing good care.
The CQC has suffered significant budget cuts in recent years, and is under pressure to become self-financing. It has increased the fees it charges providers to be inspected and rated significantly.
CQC’s Chief Executive, David Behan, said: “Inspection will always be crucial to our understanding of quality but we’ll increasingly be getting more and better information from the public and providers and using it alongside inspections to provide a trusted, responsive, independent view of quality that is regularly updated and that will be invaluable to people who provide services as well as those who use them.
“And we’ll make more use of focused unannounced inspections which target the areas where our insight suggests risk is greatest or quality is improving – with ratings updated where we find changes.
“We’ll also do more to help providers to monitor and report on their own quality; work with national and local partners to formalise the definition of quality and agree how we should measure it; and develop a shared data set so providers are only asked for information once. This will make it easier for health and care services to know what is expected of them and to report on it – and easier for people to know what to expect from their care.”
The CQC claim the strategy was developed following a year-long consultation period during which thousands of people, providers, staff and partners shared their views about the future of regulation.
The regulator is emerging from its scandal-hit past, but remains unpopular with many providers for the amount of bureaucracy its inspection framework creates.
It’s five-year strategy, called Shaping the Future, sets out four priorities:
- Encourage improvement, innovation and sustainability in care: the CQC will work with others to support improvement, adapt our approach as new care models develop, and publish new ratings of NHS trusts’ and foundation trusts’ use of resources.
- Deliver an intelligence-driven approach to regulation: the CQC will use information from the public and providers more effectively to target resources where the risk to the quality of care provided is greatest and to check where quality is improving, and introduce a more proportionate approach to registration.
- Promote a single shared view of quality: the CQC will work with others to agree a consistent approach to defining and measuring quality, collecting information from providers, and delivering a single vision of high-quality care.
- Improve our efficiency and effectiveness: the CQC will work more efficiently, achieving savings each year, and improving how it works with the public and providers.