Steps have already been taken by the Care Quality Commission to establish a series of sector specific advisory groups, which include senior representatives from royal colleges and patient groups. These groups support the three new chief inspectors by:
- contributing to the design and development of methods and approaches by providing expert advice, opinion and challenge
- providing a steer on any issues arising
- acting as an advocate for the Care Quality Commission and as a communication channel to their ‘community/membership’, helping to share the understanding, seek wider input
- recommending individuals to join task and finish groups, to provide expert knowledge and advice on detailed areas of work, such as the drafting of guidance
In September 2013 the Care Quality Commission also appointed a National Advisor on Patient Safety, Culture and Quality.
The Care Quality Commission is also considering whether this recommendation could provide a renewed impetus to its Advisory Committee as a statutory, advisory body to the Board in order to ensure that different perspectives on quality and safety of care are all taken into account.
In addition, since publication of the Inquiry report, the Care Quality Commission has appointed a new board of executive and non-executive directors. The three new chief inspectors have been appointed to the Board; they provide leadership to ensure that hospital, social care and primary care perspectives are fully taken into account. A strong voice for people who use health and care services is provided by the Chair of Healthwatch England. The Care Quality Commission, in particular through the Chief Inspectors, also has close links to the Royal Colleges through a sector-specific advisory committee. It has also set out a strategy which commits it to ensuring that providers, professionals and people who use health or care services will help shape the approach to regulation.
All of the Care Quality Commission’s new style inspections involve healthcare professionals as part of the inspection teams, according to their areas of specialism and training and depending on the service being inspected. In addition to this many of the Care Quality Commission’s inspectors themselves come from specialist health backgrounds and are working in the sector in which they trained. For example, the Care Quality Commission inspectors who are clinical scientists and radiographers by training inspect radiology facilities and departments, both as individual inspections and as part of broader hospital inspections, providing specialist insight. The Care Quality Commission’s Chief Inspectors of Hospitals, Adult Social Care and General Practice themselves have significant experience and expertise in their sectors, as well as a number of their Deputy Chief Inspectors.
The Care Quality Commission has been working with healthcare professionals including the Royal Colleges and their faculties, as well as providers, the public and other stakeholders throughout the development of its new regulatory approach. This has included:
- Engagement in the development of the Care Quality Commission’s new approach to monitoring, inspecting and rating services and guidance on new regulations and enforcement powers
- Identification of healthcare professionals to participate in the Care Quality Commission’s inspections
- Support for the Care Quality Commission’s work on the use of clinical service accreditation schemes
- Commitment to working together through the development of memoranda of understanding, joint working statements and information sharing agreements