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Care Quality Commission response to Francis Report

6 February 2013

CQC Chief Executive David Behan said: “Robert Francis’s report is defining for everyone involved in healthcare. People were badly let down by the NHS and those responsible for healthcare regulation and supervision. Our thoughts are with the families who have suffered. This kind of long term failure must not happen again.

“We agree with Robert Francis that the NHS should maintain a positive patient-focused culture throughout.

“CQC’s purpose is to make sure hospitals provide patients with safe and acceptable standards of care, underpinned by an open culture, effective leadership and clinical engagement. The primary responsibility for delivering quality care lies with the leadership of hospitals, care professionals, clinical staff and those who commission the care.

“No system can guarantee that there will never be failings. Regulators and supervisory bodies must be much better at identifying and challenging poor care and in working together to improve people’s experiences of care. And boards, managers, care staff and commissioners must take responsibility. And we must all listen to patients.

“Today's statement by the prime minister sets clear objectives for CQC which strengthens our role as regulator. We will continue to operate as a single, unified regulator across health and social care.

“In his statement today the Prime Minister asked CQC to bring forward proposals to appoint a Chief Inspector of Hospitals. The appointment of a Chief Inspector of Hospitals will enable us to put a sharper focus on hospital care – really getting to grips with what’s most important to patients and their families. As the Prime Minster said, this will help to ensure hospitals are clean, safe and caring.

“The prime minister’s statement, together with the recommendations of the Francis report, reinforces the changes we have set out recently.

“Our priority now is to develop and deliver these commitments in the light of the prime minister’s statement. We will begin to move towards a new approach in the way we regulate NHS hospitals from this summer.

  • We are changing how we inspect hospitals. We will look more closely at how hospitals are run... (simply put, do the doctors talk to the managers, do board members talk to patients; how well do hospitals learn from mistakes and complaints ?). We will use more clinical experts in our inspection teams, (if it’s about nursing, we will take a nurse with us) and we will involve more members of the public with direct experience of hospital care - ‘experts by experience’ – in our inspections.
  • We will look at how we can develop teams of specialist inspectors, who will work alongside clinical experts and people who use services.
  • We will listen much harder to what people who use services tell us about the reality of the care they receive. And we will work more closely with others and use a wider range of information and evidence in our assessment of quality and performance.
  • We are changing our board and the way it works. We will build a transparent, well governed and effective organisation."

“We believe that Robert Francis’s recommendations in relation to a positive patient culture apply across all health and social care and we also will consider appointing a Chief Inspector for Social Care.”

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About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.