/News

September 19, 2023

Winter is coming: CQC’s Game Changing Strategy  

InsightRegulation

Will Marshall, Head of Legal & Risk Management

Winter is coming: CQC’s Game Changing Strategy  

As has been widely signposted, this winter, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator for health and social care in England, is ushering in a series of fundamental changes that promise to redefine healthcare regulation in the country.  

Starting this November, a new single assessment framework will be rolled out, beginning in the South of England and gradually extending to the three other regions of the country. This framework aims to improve understanding of care quality within organisations and foster connections across systems and sectors. 

The framework will retain the familiar five key questions (safe, effective, caring, responsive, and well-led) and four-point rating scale (outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate). However, it introduces quality statements under each key question, setting clear expectations based on people's experiences and standards of care. Additionally, six evidence categories will be used to ensure transparent and consistent judgements. 

Flexible inspections will become the new norm with assessments no longer being triggered solely by previous service ratings. Assessments and inspections will be more proactive, drawing from various sources, including data and service-user feedback. Ongoing monitoring will be introduced alongside new specialist inspection teams to support this change of approach. 

A modern online portal will be piloted to streamline provider interactions with the CQC to provide a real-time view of service performance to enhance data and drive improvement. 

Key Insights 

  1. Benchmarking services: The CQC’s new approach will allow service providers to compare their own performance with others, producing a more holistic, data-led picture of the overall quality of services regionally and nationally.  
  2. Patient-Centric Focus: The CQC is confident its new holistic approach will be better equipped to meet the needs of an evolving and increasingly complex health and care environment that frequently features multi-provider and multi-sector care journeys. 
  3. Consistency & Transparency: The introduction of quality statements and evidence categories promises to provide clear expectations and greater transparency in assessing care quality, ensuring a level playing field for all providers. 
  4. Proactive Regulation: Shifting from rigid inspections to a more proactive and flexible approach, the CQC will rely on various data sources and continuous monitoring to promptly identify and address emerging service risks.  
  5. Streamlined Reporting: The move to shorter, more accessible inspection reports and the introduction of a scoring framework is intended to offer clarity and enable providers to benchmark their performance against others in their region. 
  6. Digital Transformation: CQC's new online portal will improve provider interactions, offering a real-time view of service performance and simplifying data sharing, marking a significant step towards a digitally-driven regulatory landscape. 

How we help 

As CQC's new single assessment framework promises a more patient-centric and efficient system, understanding and adapting to the changes will be crucial.  

To help our clients prepare for these key changes, and our brokers to support them, we will be publishing a series of regular updates, analysis and newsfeeds covering all key developments over the next few months. Stay tuned. 

A full version of this article is available for Altea Policyholders. 

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