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CQC must demonstrate better value for money

by Alice Harrold
9 December 2016

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NHS Confederation has told the Government that the CQC needs to show better value for money in light of the planned fee hike.

In written evidence to the Health Select Committee’s CQC accountability hearing, NHS

NHS Confederation said that the CQC needs to show better value for money if it is to retain credibility.

The body was positive about the changes to CQC policy including the move towards risk-based regulation and use of a broader and more “placed-based” perspective on the quality of care.

However, NHS Confederation said it was “concerned” about the value for money offered by the CQC, especially as its “huge increase in fees levied on the health sector” coincides with moving towards a light-touch approach to inspections.

They revealed that in their most recent member survey, 76% of respondents said that the CQC is not making progress on delivering value for money.

“The CQC must demonstrate that it is delivering value for money if it is to retain credibility with our members, particularly as the regulator will soon start to assess providers’ use of resources,” the evidence said.

The confederation said it is therefore “disappointing” to see only a “modest” reduction in operating income being planned by CQC up to 2020/21.

“We would expect this to cost less due to the reduction in the number of comprehensive inspections taking place”, the evidence said. “We are concerned that the CQC has yet to robustly evaluate the cost of inspections for NHS providers.”

In 2017/18, fees for foundation trusts and NHS trusts are set to increase by 48%. This comes on the back of a 75% fee hike for NHS trusts in 2016/17.

The regulator announced its intention to introduce new ratings on how well NHS trusts are using their resources to deliver high-quality care in May 2016.

The body’s evidence also called for an appropriately designed “shared view of quality” across the health and care sectors. This would have great potential to both reduce the regulatory burden on providers and enable frontline staff to feel more engaged in the process on an ongoing basis, they said.

A CQC spokesperson said the regulator has an important role to play in encouraging innovation “by flexibly and effectively registering and inspecting new models”.

They said: “Our strategy for 2016-21 states our commitment to adapt to new models of care and work with others to support services to improve. Already this work is underway.

“For example, in the summer, we published our statement of intent, which expands on our approach in this area. Also, we have established regional networks of inspectors to support new models of care, so that it is easier for providers to work with us.

“Our supportive approach is designed to ensure regulation is not an unnecessary barrier to innovation, but continues to protect people from harm.”