Plans for integrated care systems (ICSs) to be given Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings are on hold, and no ratings will be issued until summer 2024 at the earliest, HSJ understands.
The government had previously said ICSs would be given ratings – after pressure from Jeremy Hunt, then Commons health committee chair and now chancellor – and there was an expectation the process would begin next month.
However, while legislation says the CQC will review and assess ICSs, it does not require it to give ratings.
HSJ understands the Department of Health and Social Care supports the CQC beginning early work on assessing ICSs shortly, but does not plan to sign off on ratings being issued, nor set any date for that to happen.
It means that, at the very earliest, more detailed reviews leading to ratings could happen from spring/summer 2024. One source with knowledge of the decision said there was not strong support for ratings work to start, and the CQC still needed to do a lot of work to adapt its approach to ICSs.
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Source: HSJ, 27 March 2023
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