CQC misses its own inspection targets

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

David Behan, Chief Executive of CQC has announced that CQC is missing all of its own inspection targets in the CQC Board Meeting held on 22 October. The targets are being missed across Adult Social Care, Hospitals and Primary Medical Services.

David Behan anticipates that CQC will be in a position to meet its targets for Hospital inspections by March 2016 and the acute specialist, mental health, community healthcare and ambulance trust will meet their inspection targets by June 2016. He believes that the target of rating all Adult Social Care, GPs and out of hours services by 30 September 2016 will be missed but with adequate planning it is hoped that it will be achieved by the end of December 2016.

The targets to be met by Adult Social Care are arguably the most difficult to achieve given the number of services involved. Data provided at the Board Meeting demonstrated that over 1,500 fewer inspections were undertaken than needed to be completed to meet the goal of inspecting and rating all services. The figures for Hospitals and Primary Medical Services seem eminently more achievable if only owing to the smaller numbers involved- 60 and 700 respectively.

Perhaps the most alarming point in relation to missed inspection targets are that month-on-month the gap is widening. After each service has been inspected and rated under the new regime it will be reviewed by CQC and decisions taken as to its future application. Since CQC’s ratings are developed with reference to comparable services, until all services have been inspected CQC cannot develop an accurate national understanding of what each rating should look like. This is essential to provide clarity to stakeholders within the sector as to the quality of each rated service under the new inspection framework.

Agreements as to government spending which have not yet been forthcoming will only add more pressure on the regulator. The Spending Review, that was announced on 21 July 2015 and is set to conclude on 25 November 2015, expects the CQC to absorb 25-40% cost savings within the coming year. The arbitrary targets of inspecting all services by a given date fails to hold much weight but does speak to the pressures CQC is under. This is against the backdrop of a larger workforce and, in particular, taking on and training inspectors to the required standard.

Please see attached a copy of the graphs used in the most recent CQC Board Minutes demonstrating the inspection targets and current progress towards them.

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