Today, the Care Quality Commission has confirmed that it intends to resume its routine inspections of health and adult social care providers across England in the autumn, subject to the prevalence of coronavirus including a possible second peak.
In March, the regulator announced that it would be pausing its routine inspections to support the health and care sectors to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic and reduce the spread of the disease, following calls made by the NHS Confederation.
In response to this latest development, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“We need a new wave of inspections like we need a hole in the head. The NHS is embarking on what could well be the most challenging period in its history and this will not help.
“Health leaders recognise the important role of regulation – it can shine a light on good and bad practice, it holds service to account for quality and value for money. But the absence of routine inspections over the last three months has created a period of respite as staff have struggled to beat this virus. That battle is not over. Indeed, a set of bigger challenges remain – dealing with the backlog of care, continuing to treat thousands with coronavirus, and being prepared for another surge and what will be a very difficult winter. And all of this with concerns over staff burnout.
“We need first to learn the lessons of this period before jumping back into the old inspection regime. Instead there is an opportunity to reset the way that we think about inspection, regulation and governance and it is an opportunity our members are keen to explore. Let’s not rush back to the way things were. We will seek to work with the CQC to make sure the views of our members inform their thinking on the future approach to regulation and inspection.”