Last reviewed 1 June 2021

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has committed to reforming its regulatory approach following extensive consultation with health and social care providers, the public and other organisations. 

The CQC’s report said on-site inspections will remain a “vital part” of performance assessments but the CQC would “want to move away from relying on a set schedule of inspections to a more flexible, targeted approach”. 

As part of the plans, the CQC’s system of ratings will become more dynamic, updating them “when there is evidence that shows a change in quality”, and the CQC won’t always need to carry out an inspection to do this.

The CQC said it was also committed to moving away from “long reports written after inspections”, making them more accessible and easier to understand and being more transparent about what information it uses and how it is used in judgements and decisions about ratings.

CQC Chief Executive Ian Trenholm said the regulator’s purpose has never been clearer. He stressed: “In our assessments we will ensure that services actively take into account people’s rights and their unique perspectives on what matters to them. We will use our powers proportionately and act quickly where improvement is needed, whilst also ensuring we shine a positive light on the majority of providers who are setting high standards and delivering great care.” 

British Medical Association (BMA) Council Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said doctors have repeatedly told the BMA how CQC inspections take significant time and resources away from direct patient care, that they are a poor measure of the quality of care delivered, and that the aggregate rating system is “crude and unfairly judgemental” as it fails to take into account the context of individual providers such as “workload pressures, staff shortages or extenuating circumstances”.

He called on the CQC to identify specific areas of improvements in services and support positive change.

He added that it was “disappointing” that there was no mention of staff wellbeing in the strategy, which he said was vital for ensuring high standards of care and retaining the workforce.

A New Strategy for the Changing World of Health and Social Care: Our Strategy from 2021 is available at: www.cqc.org.uk/about-us/our-strategy-plans/new-strategy-changing-world-health-social-care-cqcs-strategy-2021.