The Care Quality Commission starts work today as England’s first health and adult social care regulator.
It has replaced the Commission for Social Care Inspection, Healthcare Commission and Mental Health Act Commission, taking responsibility for the inspection and regulation of social care and health, and oversight of the welfare of patients detained under the Mental Health Act.
During its first year, the CQC will:-
- Produce a scored assessment of councils’ adult social care performance.
- Continue with CSCI’s regulation of adult care providers, providing a quality rating of those services it inspects.
- Begin the registration of NHS providers, initially covering performance on hospital-acquired infection.
- Develop a new registration system for health and social care that will be introduced from April 2010.
- Continue with MHAC’s programme of visits to wards holding detained patients.
It will also carry out special reviews on the following subjects:-
- The healthcare needs of people in care homes.
- The whole system of care for people who have a stroke and their carers.
- Meeting the physical health needs of people with mental health problems and learning disabilities in hospitals and residential homes.
- Health and social care for families with disabled children and young people.
Platt’s health warning
But as it assumes these responsibilities, outgoing CSCI chair Denise Platt has raised concerns about the CQC’s ability to give social care due priority, in an interview with Community Care.
Platt cited the media and political dominance of the health service as a potential influence on the CQC and said a number of CSCI managers had not transferred to the new organisation. However, CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower has issued a staunch defence of the new organisation.
Social Care Institute for Excellence chief executive Julie Jones welcomed CQC’s establishment, saying: “People who use social care services are often, by definition, users of health services and so I welcome the new, integrated approach that the CQC will take. Of course there are benefits of bringing health and social care under the same regulatory arrangements; and of course there will be challenges.”
Meanwhile Age Concern England and Help the Aged, which have merged to form a single charity, issued a seven-point plan for the CQC:-
- Publicly report on shortcomings in the system in addition to making recommendations for improvement.
- Give equal priority to care and support services as to health services.
- Place as much emphasis on dignity, human rights and quality of life as physical safety in setting and measuring standards.
- Report transparently, frequently and clearly on performance to increase people’s confidence in services.
- Ensure health and care workers are trained by their employers to identify, support and report abuse or neglect.
- Give a stronger focus on nutrition to end the horror of older people being malnourished in health and care settings.
- Conduct a review of mental health services being provided in the community and care homes.