The launch session of the CQC Strategy on 27th May began with Chief Executive Ian Trenholm speaking about the strategy being a team effort, powered by the voices of the public through responses to the consultation earlier in 2021 and in events during 2019. Over 75% of respondents to the CQC consultation ‘fully’ or ‘mostly’ supported its ambitions, and he noted that the pandemic has shown how delivering care using digital solutions can work effectively when needed.
Before representatives launched into the details of the strategy, delegates heard from two users of care services called ‘Experts by Experience’ about their hopes for the future of CQC inspections. This inclusion of the views of receivers of care gave a powerful background to the subsequent strategy.
The CQC’s purpose of ensuring high quality, safe and inclusive care has not changed, but it is now driven by 4 interlinked themes:
- People and Communities – the CQC say they will be gathering more experiences, with better analysis and use of these experiences in assessments, and a clear and consistent definition of what ‘Good’ and ‘Poor’ look like.
- Smarter regulation – site visits will remain a key method of service assessment, alongside wider utilisation of resources including digital benchmarking and analysis. There will be greater flexibility to reflect the changing health and care sector, responsive to people’s needs now and in the future. Ratings will thus be more dynamic, with coordinated data sharing and constructive communications with providers. A key phrase used during the strategy launch was, ‘Collect data once and use it many times’, in order to reduce repetitive processes and create additional capacity for person centred care.
- Safety through learning – the CQC mentioned the importance of culturally appropriate care, and the need to act responsively where improvement is deemed necessary.
- Accelerating improvement – the key point the CQC wanted to get across here is the culture of continuous improvement, learning and evaluation within the CQC to identify gaps in service provision. This comes back to a well-led and positive culture which promotes equality and diversity to ‘improve care where it is needed most’.
There are 2 core ambitions that run throughout the themes:
- Assessing local systems: providing independent assurance around the quality of care and in Real Time
- Tackling inequalities in the health and care sectors: seeking equality of access, people’s experiences of a service and outcome expectation
The CQC spoke further about their Year 1 priorities: developing how risk is monitored and testing of a new assessment framework. A new provider portal and mobile-friendly website will be created, and they will also carry out further research to develop collaborative work.
Whilst we await the detail of how the strategy will be implemented, and what this means for care providers, the CQC’s strategy is focused on placing service users at the forefront of the care provision, with the aim of being more relevant to modern day care, culture and the environment. In so doing the CQC will increase its flexibility, with greater rating frequency and targeted risk assessment of a service, resulting in the highest quality of safe and person centred care for all across the health and social care spectrum. We hope that the detail will reduce the burden on providers, and seek to assess the all-round capabilities and culture of the service in an era of collaboration and interoperability.