CQC has indicated its intention, by way of its strategy lead Sarah Bickerstaffe, to move towards a closer working relationship with healthcare providers. She stated at the event on 17 September 2015, at the Westminster Health Forum, that CQC was now moving to be a mature organisation and as such is looking to take a more considered approach to regulation. As part of this new approach CQC will be looking to involve healthcare providers more within their inspections, quite the form this will take has not been clarified but will be seen as a welcome step for those in the sector. She stated:
“…we do want to move in a direction where we feel that we have a partnership with providers so that they feel that things are being done with them rather than to them, whilst at the same time being able to respond to risk and being on the side of people using services.”
CQC already had in place the ‘Quality of care in a place’ which is being piloted at present in two locations in the North. This project seeks to identify the issues faced by people who use a variety of healthcare services in a particular area with the objective of finding out the issues specific to the area. CQC states the reason for undertaking such a piece of work is to see how healthcare services work with each other in a local area. This project forms part of the broader aim of setting out CQC’s new strategy and business plan for the next five years which commences in April 2016.
It remains to be seen quite how this lighter approach to regulation and working in partnership with healthcare providers will work in practice. It would appear that there is an ambitious plan to better align the work of the CQC with the healthcare providers that it regulates.