Care Quality Commission health regulator is "not yet effective", warns PAC

Pressure on Care Quality Commission resources is showing through report errors, say MPs, as CQC chief David Behan (pictured) says regulator has been "working hard to improve"

By Josh May

11 Dec 2015

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is “not yet an effective regulator” of health and social care services, a committee of MPs has said. 

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the CQC had made “substantial progress” since 2012 but was not yet at an acceptable standard.

The MPs found staff shortages were contributing to the regulator failing to meet targets for how many inspections it was planning to carry out, and it identified an “alarming lack of attention to detail” in some of its reports.

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“Six years after being set up the Care Quality Commission is still not fully effective,” committee chairwoman Meg Hillier said.

“There’s too often a long gap between inspections and reports being published - and sometimes an alarming lack of attention to detail when reports are being prepared. 

“One NHS Foundation Trust told us staff had identified more than 200 errors in a draft Commission report, including data inaccuracies. The fact these errors were picked up offers some reassurance but this is clearly unacceptable from a public body in which taxpayers are placing their trust.”

The regulator said it was “pleased” that the MPs had noted the progress it was making, but accepted there was more to be done.

"We have always maintained that there is more we have to do, in particular with regards to improving the timeliness of our reports and inspecting all health and adult social care services,” CQC chief executive David Behan said.

“These are not new issues and we have been working hard to improve our performance. We have reported on our progress in public every month and we will continue to do so. What is essential is that we do not take any shortcuts, which could compromise the quality of the important work that we do.”

PAC has asked the CQC to come back with plans on progress against recruitment targets, improving its draft reports, and how it will better use intelligence from patients, carers and staff about concerns about the quality of care. 

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