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Is the CQC giving the NHS an easy ride?

The purpose of Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings has been a hotly contested question since the creation of the four category classifications in the last decade.

The original idea was to give the public a sense of how good their local hospital was, as well as providing commissioners, system managers and government with an idea of whether the local, regional or national health services they had responsibility for were getting better or worse.

The practicality of the first aim was always questionable given the public’s inability and unwillingness, in most cases, to take their custom elsewhere. The second ran into the lack of desire and/or courage on behalf of most commissioners to challenge their local provider, but it did seem to have traction at the top of the shop.

Jeremy Hunt, told HSJ, once they had been dished out across the sector, that their CQC classification now mattered much more then whether or not it had achieved foundation status or not.

Another function, whether intended or not, was that by splashing “inadequate” and unsafe care on the front pages, in the wake of the Francis report, CQC ratings fuelled a drive to put more staff on the wards (forcing the Treasury to pay for the consequent agency bills and deficits, and curtailing Simon Stevens’ transformation funds).

Whatever your take on their purpose, however, they only make sense if they accurately reflect the state of the service. And the latest data suggests that may not be the case.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 17 March 2022

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It's a pity this article is behind a paywall.

In my experience, both professional and personal, CQC reports can bear little or no relationship to the patient care and the culture of organisations. The system is riddled with cronyism. See:  https://on.ft.com/3GVIIgX (sorry this is also behind a paywall).

We need a pro-active, independent, patient-led system to monitor quality & look at outcomes, starting with commissioning, in my view.

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