Professor Sir Mike Richards, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, has already written to foundation trust councils of governors about the first wave of his new NHS trust inspections, setting out how councils of governors can be involved in listening events, can feed in information to the inspections, and can contact the local Care Quality Commission manager if at any time they wish to raise questions or provide further information to it in relation to the quality of care provided by the trust. The Foundation Trust Council of Governors was used to convey this information to individual governors because of their requirement to work collectively as a council.
The Care Quality Commission has worked with Monitor to ensure that foundation trust governors have clear guidance on the Care Quality Commission’s role and how to raise concerns. This information will be available to governors on an on-going basis, and to newly appointed governors, in addition to the one-off letter that has been sent.
The Care Quality Commission has extended the independent panel for governors run by Monitor so that it now also acts as an independent panel for Councils of Governors to raise queries they have in relation to healthcare standards.
The Care Quality Commission wrote to all Foundation Trust Councils of Governors in Autumn 2013 when it announced its new approach, informing them of the first wave of its new acute inspections. Following this, it was agreed that it would become part of the Care Quality Commission’s methodology to invite the relevant Council of Governors to contribute evidence as part of an inspection. Further work is being undertaken to embed this.
The Care Quality Commission is also undertaking work to ensure that there is an effective framework in place so that its hospital inspection teams know how Councils of Governors should be invited to contribute evidence. The Care Quality Commission will be publishing a briefing for all Foundation Trust Councils of Governors about its new approach and standards of care.