CQC here to stay after five-year plan pulled it out of 'special measures', says Behan

The CQC 'was in special measures' and could not continue in the 'unacceptable' way it was working before it launched its new five-year strategy, its chief executive David Behan has admitted.

CQC chief executive David Behan
CQC chief executive David Behan

Speaking on the future of regulation at the Health+Care conference in London, Mr Behan stressed that regulation was essential and the CQC was here to stay, even if providers do not always like the process.

'We could be abolished tomorrow and we'd be reinvented the next day,' he said. 'We need regulation, and the last thing we want is the lack of continuity and misbalance [caused by getting rid of the CQC].'

But he admitted that the CQC had not been performing to an acceptable standard, which merited it launching its new strategy earlier this year.

‘The CQC strategy was about needing to rescue the model of regulation. I’ll be direct, the CQC was in special measures, we weren't in a position where we could continue.

Map: GP CQC ratings

‘We're changing because the population that needs healthcare is changing. We're living longer but not necessarily healthier lives.

‘Our ambition for next five years is to target inspections to where they are needed most. This is so can contribute to a healthcare system where people trust our expert judgements, have confidence that we will identify good and poor care and that we will encourage improvements and effective use of resources.’

He added that CQC will have inspected and rated all hospitals at least once by the end of June and all GP practices by the end of this financial year.

‘We will have the most comprehensive data in the world of what constitutes good, outstanding or poor care. We can use this to influence how we inspect. We will have a baseline on quality and can target inspections to those who don't meet standards.’

CQC inspection intensity

He promised that GP practices can expect a ‘different intensity in inspections and a different size of inspection teams’ as the watchdog moves forward with its plans to overhaul its strategy.

‘We know we are not as efficient as we need to be. But we are developing evidence on our effectiveness and are running an internal evaluation. 370 care homes went into special measures, now 75% have improved. The improvements are down to the care homes, but it’s evidence of the impact we’re making.

‘We also need to do more on efficiency. Out of people's interaction with us, 10% are using technology. We need to change that over the next five years so that 90% are through technology and not paper-based systems – that is currently driving costs which are being borne by those paying our fees.’

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