The Care Quality Commission (CQC) welcomes the report from the National Audit Office and its helpful recommendations.
We note that the value for money judgement is based predominantly on CQC’s early task of registering health and social care providers.
The head of the National Audit Office, Amyas Morse, has acknowledged the difficulties we have faced and welcomes the action we have taken and are continuing to take to improve our performance.
We have more than 700 inspectors on the ground speaking to patients and staff and observing care. We use this information to make a judgement on whether essential standards of quality and safety are being met – and force providers to take action if they are not.
Following a challenging period which involved setting up an entirely new regulatory system and registering over 40,000 provider locations against tight parliamentary deadlines, we are now firmly on the right track and making rapid progress. Our tough regulatory regime is now delivering real benefits for people who use services and we are committed to increasing the numbers of unannounced inspections in order to identify and tackle poor care.
CQC Chief Executive Cynthia Bower said: “We are absolutely dedicated to protecting those who use health and social care services.
“As the NAO report makes clear, we faced a difficult task. We had to bring together the work of three organisations and bring in a new model of regulating health and adult social care. Not everything has gone smoothly, but we have learned, reviewed what we do and made changes – often with support of others involved in health and social care.
“We are a young organisation and we are still evolving – but I firmly believe that we are making real progress. In October alone, we conducted more than 1,400 unannounced inspections. In the last three months we have recruited and trained over 100 additional inspectors. Our national report on our Dignity and Nutrition inspection programme – looking at the care older people receive in 100 acute hospitals – was published in October. The response it received from the public and the NHS demonstrates just how effective our regulatory system can be. We will shortly be rolling this programme out to social care. “
This report will inform the Public Accounts Committee’s hearing looking at CQC. The report signposts areas for us to address as we embed the new system of regulation of health and adult social care. We will give our detailed response to the issues raised in the NAO’s report to the Committee.