The Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) have put notices on a number of provider profile pages on their website in recent days confirming that they have “removed” inspection reports. Their stated reasons are:
“We found an issue with some of the information gathered by an individual who supported our inspection.”
This mysterious “issue” seems to have prompted CQC to revisit past ratings and re-inspect a number of services, indicating that the “issue” is serious. At the very least, the fact that they have removed reports and ratings suggests that it is serious enough to call into question the quality of their past regulatory practices.
Despite this, and rather conspicuously, there has been no formal press release or obvious publication from the CQC on exactly what the “issue” is, or on how and why it has now come to light.
Removing a report essentially removes a providers’ rating. For one provider we looked at on the CQC website, the affected report was the first CQC inspection so the provider they essentially falls back to an “unrated” category. Other providers appear to have fallen back onto previous ratings.
Whilst some providers might welcome the opportunity to achieve a better rating under re-inspection, providers whose “removed” rating was “good” or “outstanding”, or was an improvement on past performance, are likely to be significantly concerned about having to fall back on much older ratings.
Many providers rely on ratings for their professional reputation, and to set expectations for marketing purposes or in negotiations in commercial or corporate transactions.
Providers who are directly affected by the “issues” can expect to be contacted directly by the CQC in the very near future, if not already. However, CQC are under a duty to be transparent as a regulator and we would expect further information to be provided to the sector if there is an “issue” with the regulator as serious as this one appears to be.
If providers require any assistance with or advice on dealing with the CQC on this issue, or more generally please contact Ridouts on 0207 317 0340