CQC looks to balance the books

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

In a consultation announced today CQC sets out its proposals for an increase in fees to providers to cover the cost of the regulator carrying out its duties. CQC welcomes responses to the consultation on fees and the impact they will have on providers.

The main proposal put forward in the consultation document relates to fees for all registered providers with the exception of the dental sector (CQC already recovers fees from dental providers to cover its operation costs). The ambition is to recover the cost of regulating the sector in either two years (2016-2018) or four years (2016-2020). What doesn’t appear to be in question is the amount that is owed to CQC to recover its fees. This consultation addresses how long CQC should have to wait to recoup its expenditure. Under the two year format GPs could see their fees rise almost sevenfold by the end of the second year. The same is the case for the four-year programme but payments are staggered through the interim years. NHS Trusts would see an increase in fees by almost three times the current rate by the end of the proposed time period, be it two years or four.

CQC collected just under 54% of chargeable costs through fees in 2014/15 and these proposals will see fees eventually meeting that burden in full. CQC will still retain a grant-in-aid from the government but on a lesser scale to cover non-chargeable activities. The tone of the consultation seems to favour the speedier cost recovery in the two year programme to meet the governments cost reduction goals.

Is this a necessary cost of business that needs to be worked into care service models to shoulder the burden of the work that CQC needs to do? One of the larger challenges involved in setting fees comes in the form of striking a balance between the reasonable cost of CQC’s chargeable activities with fees that providers can afford without having an excessively adverse effect on the quality of care provision.

The consultation on regulatory fees is open now and responses are to be received by noon on 15 January 2016 with the intention that the fees proposals that are adopted will have effect from 1 April 2016.

Please follow the link below to access the full consultation.


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