CQC develops regime to assess healthcare across entire local areas

The CQC has published two prototype reports assessing the breadth of health and social care - including general practice - across Salford and Tameside as part of its plan to begin evaluating quality of care over whole local areas.

Dubbed the Quality of Care in a Place project, the watchdog said the reports will be evaluated to fine-tune the process and assess whether they can be used to help local areas drive improvements.

The reports include a list of all the GP practices in the area, which are displayed alongside their individual rating given to them by the CQC.

The CQC aired plans last year that it would start to look beyond individual providers, and instead assess the 'care experience' provided by health and social care services across whole areas.

It comes after it published its strategy for the next five years this week, in which it said it will move away from the blanket inspection of all GPs to a model where practices perceived to be risky will receive unannounced visits from inspectors.

To understand quality of care in an area, the reports particularly focused on the experiences of two population groups – people aged 75 or older and people with mental health needs.

Map: CQC GP ratings

The CQC said it would consider whether it would focus on other demographics in the future while assessing the reports.

It stressed that the area reports were intended to be ‘indicative only’ and ‘should not be considered as inspection reports’ at the current time. The areas were not given an overall rating on its scale of outstanding-inadequate, as are given to individual providers.

CQC chief executive David Behan said: ‘CQC needs to look at the quality of care people receive across areas and between services. Having a better understanding of how different parts of the health and care system work together should also help drive improvement.

‘By 2020, 50% of the population should be receiving care in a range of new ways and from organisations that bring different elements of care together. Quality of Care in a Place is one of a number of ways we have been looking at how we can assess the quality of care beyond individual providers.

‘Together these projects are helping us to build our capability to inspect, report on and rate new models of care, such as vanguards, and the range of different services that people use.’

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