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CQC’s new regulatory model: “The world of health and social care is changing”

28 April 2022

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  • CQC

The CQC (Care Quality Commission) recently conducted a webinar (Wednesday 30th March 2022) to give an overview of their upcoming plans for their new regulatory model and what they intend to do in regards to any other upcoming changes.

It is key to note that at this moment the CQC has not yet announced any official changes and has no estimated date for these developments, but it will be likely that these changes will be applied over a long period of time to ensure the best possible outcome.

CQC update

“We are and we hope to continue to be extremely ambitious.”

– Victoria Vallance, Deputy Chief Inspector

The CQC’s primary purpose and role is not going to change. However, the way that they achieve and award ratings, as well as work alongside organisations to support them is going to alter.

The need for change has risen from the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which as we know added an immense amount of pressure on the healthcare industry and has indicated that some practices are no longer relevant or appropriate. It also highlighted that the assessment and inspection methods needed to be more flexible and accommodating.

Key points:

  • The CQC aims to change the way they regulate to drive the improvement of care and services for everyone.
  • They want to be able to manage and respond to risk and uncertainty in a more mature and reactive way.
  • They want to approach regulation based on real-life needs and experiences.

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Brief overview of recent CQC ongoing activities

Throughout the pandemic the CQC have kept their regulatory approach under review, with recognition of the pressures that the health and social care services have and continue to undergo. Their priority has always been (and always will be) to support healthcare services and ensure that people are receiving  .

In December 2021, the CQC postponed some of their inspections of services, in order to accelerate and dedicate more support towards the COVID-19 booster vaccination program. They also focused on prioritising their activities to help create capacity, mainly within the adult social care sector, by inspecting and reviewing quality ratings and improvements.

Since February 2022, they have been assessing where there’s risks directly associated with patients and customers within both health and social care services. This includes any services that were not inspected during the pandemic.

In addition, the CQC has kept a focus on urgent and emergency care, by understanding and reviewing the pressures that they face, and offering local and national support.

Currently the CQC are continuing to engage with providers to develop their strategy further and will be starting to “test” the model with a small number. They are also priortising those services that have never been inspected but that the CQC have the power to award a rating to.

Regulatory model vs. plans for the future

CQC regulatory model

Source: CQC

Single assessment framework

As it stands there are three separate assessment frameworks which address adult social care, registration, and health. The aim is to have a single assessment framework that covers all sectors, services, and levels, with the purpose of simplifying and making the framework more accessible for everyone – including CQC workers, healthcare providers, and partners working in the system.

The new framework plans to be more flexible to accommodate and meet the industry needs and requirements of the different sectors.

Much of the assessment framework will feel similar and assess the same areas. Currently, the framework covers the five key lines of enquires (KLOEs). However, they are found to be duplicative and not as relevant as they once were or should be. There are plans to incorporate a new model which uses quality statements based on a more humanized and real-life method.

Ongoing assessments

Inspections are currently scheduled in. The CQC plans to allow regulators to have more options and opportunities to collect information to assess and award services. This will offer a better understanding of how a service delivers care and a fairer rating. For example, CQC regulators will plan to spend more time within the local area, speaking to health and care workers, and monitoring processes.

Higher risk services and services of a lower quality rating will be opted into a close nurturing approach, where the CQC will dedicate more time with these services to ensure and encourage improvements.

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New assessment dashboard

As well as improving the way services are assessed, the CQC aims to improve the way that evidence is collected, stored and presented. CQC regulators will work from a centralised, dynamic regulatory dashboard that they will use and update regularly in order to make better timely decisions. The dashboard plans to be transparent, streamlined, and efficient, to ensure that the feedback given is personalised to the individual service being assessed.

Updated ratings

Ratings are to better reflect the care provided and accompanied by a clear explanation of how and why each rating was awarded. To address this, they are currently developing a way to categorise and score evidence as a part of the assessments.

Radar Healthcare makes it easy for partners to attach evidence in the form of imagery and other methods. This is done through a range of our modules; incident and event management, audits, risk management and more.

Shorter and more efficient statements provided

The CQC has recognised the need to reduce the length of the statements provided to healthcare organsiations after assessment. The plan is to reduce the size significantly, focus on making them more concise and accessible, as well as ensure that they are encouraging continuous improvement.

Summary

It is important to reiterate that these changes are not yet in fruition and that there is not a set date for when they will be. However, it can be noted that the way the CQC assesses organisations will take a more humanised, relevant, and relatable approach – and services within the healthcare sector need to prepared.

If you are interested in how you could improve your CQC rating checkout our interactive checklist. Or get in touch to see how our advanced quality and compliance software can help healthcare services achieve a Good or Outstanding rating!

We have much greater transparency of our compliance. We are now able to correctly plan and manage issues more effectively and our ability to now evidence what we do is hugely significant. We have seen a huge improvement in our initial investigations and our Regional Managers really buy into it. When the CQC has seen Radar Healthcare, they have been really impressed, as have our NHS customers, who now specifically ask for data out of Radar Healthcare.

Simon Smith - Head of Care Standards, ERS Medical

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