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From designing to delivering a better way of regulating health and adult social care: CQC looks back on 2014/15

Published:
21 July 2015

In the last year, the regulator of health and adult social care in England has progressed from designing, testing and evaluating its new inspection model to implementing it to make sure that people get the safe, high quality and compassionate care they deserve.

In its Annual report and accounts 2014/15 out today (Tuesday 21 July), the Care Quality Commission (CQC) sets out how it has rolled out its new, rigorous and expert-led way of monitoring, inspecting and regulating health and adult social care services in England, which has people at its heart.

Inspections are now more detailed and intensive than before. They involve specialist teams (including sector-specific inspectors, experts in the field and people who have experience of care), make better use of evidence, and are based on what matters most to people who use services – whether the services are safe, caring, effective, responsive to their needs, and well-led.

Most inspections then lead to ratings of Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate – moving away from reporting on legal compliance against standards to providing a more transparent understanding of the quality of services.

By the end of 2014/15, CQC inspected 7,038 providers and locations using its new inspection model; of which, 3,180 had led to ratings.

CQC expects to complete its inspections of acute NHS trusts by the end of March 2016, acute specialist, mental health, community healthcare and ambulance trusts by the end of June 2016, and its inspections of adult social care services and primary medical services by the end of September 2016.

David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission, said: "We have radically transformed how we regulate health and adult social care services in England, with rigorous and expert-led inspections and ratings to drive improvement and through increased transparency help people make informed choices about their care.

"We will always act independently and remain on the side of people who use services, their families and their carers – they are entitled to receive safe, high-quality and compassionate care.

"I would like to thank our staff and our partners for the immense hard work they have put into the last twelve months and for their commitment in delivering the changes needed."

Also in 2014/15, CQC:

  • Launched its 'intelligent monitoring' system for GP practices and mental health services, building on the system it introduced in the previous year for acute NHS trusts. The tool can flag potential concerns about services and can help CQC to plan its inspections.
  • Developed and introduced 'special measures' regimes for primary medical and adult social care services, following its introduction for the NHS in 2013/14. The regime sets a limited period for providers rated as Inadequate to make the necessary improvements or face restrictions or closure.
  • Carried out 1,179 enforcement actions, received 90,606 pieces of safeguarding information, completed 36,269 registration processes, carried out 1,253 Mental Health Act Reviewer visits, and dealt with 1.4 million transactions from its National Customer Service Centre.

As well as this, CQC prepared providers and its staff for important changes that took effect from 1 April 2015, including:

  • New regulations called the 'fundamental standards', which are clearer and more focused about the care that people should always expect to receive.
  • New requirements for providers on being open about mistakes when they happen (called the 'duty of candour') and on making sure directors and their equivalents are 'fit and proper'.
  • A new requirement for providers that CQC judges to be Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate to prominently display their ratings on their websites, as well as at premises, public entrances and waiting areas of care services.
  • A new enforcement policy to be used when CQC finds that people are not receiving – or are at risk of not receiving – the high standard of care that it expects and that they deserve.
  • A new requirement to monitor the financial sustainability of adult social care providers that would be 'difficult to replace' if there were significant changes to the market. It is designed to reduce the risk of people going without the care and support they need.

CQC's Annual report and accounts 2014/15 has been presented to Parliament today and can be downloaded from its website, together with an infographic.

While the Annual report and accounts summarises the regulator's activities in 2014/15, CQC will set out what it has uncovered about the quality and safety of health and adult social care in England, and the key issues and trends the sectors are facing, in October.

Ends

For media enquiries about the Care Quality Commission, please call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours.

Also, follow the team on Twitter for the latest national announcements: @CQCPressOffice.

Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here. (Please note: the duty press officer is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters).

For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

  • CQC's Annual report and accounts 2014/15 and its accompanying infographic are available here.
  • Of the 3,180 ratings that CQC had awarded by the end of 2014/15, 2,540 were for adult social care services, 559 were for primary medical services, and 81 were for NHS trusts and services. See page 24 of the annual report for further information.
  • CQC's expenditure in 2014/15 was £221million; representing 0.15% of the £148 billion of total spending on health and adult social care.


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.