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Do NOT scrap the Care Quality Commission!

Comment 15th August 2010

That's correct! Do NOT scrap the CQC!

There are a number of important healthcare issues in our country. One of the foremost is that of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) e.g. the 'superbug.'

It has been said that the government will not abolish the CQC because these infections are a major public health issue and we are lagging behind many of our European compatriots in combatting this. There are targets on this and, one way or the other, we a need a national system to ensure that they are met.

So far this is all seems very reasonable. I think also, there are some issues with levels of service and care within secondary care environments, 'postcode lotteries' etc. These are aspects that also do need to be examined and dealt with. 

The PROBLEM with the CQC is that it is being rolled out (very soon!) to include primary care providers (e.g. GP practices, dentists etc.) and other ancilliary services (some of whom may even have little or no patient contact).

CQC in its current proposed format:

1) Will be massively expensive to the taxpayer.

2) Will not improve patient care, it will actually worsen it as your doctor/ dentist etc will spend significant amount of time and taxpayer's budget dealing with registration and compliance requirements, instead of focussing on your health.

3) Will miss most of the important patient issues as it wastes its time and money on primary care. Primary care services are already well regulated, most of the workers do a sterling job for their patients, we have robust complaints systems. And you do not need a costly inspectorate to tell which are the bad ones (if primary care patients are not happy they do not come back!)

I would say to Mr. Clegg, definitely DO KEEP the CQC. It absolutely has a role to play and, correctly implemented, there is a potential national health gain to be achieved.

– Focus the CQC on secondary care i.e. hospitals.

– this is, broadly-speaking, where the problems lie e.g. hospital-acquired infection, variation in standards/ availability of service etc. Reducing things like the superbug, and making hospitals places where you go to actually get better, not worse, is good for everyone. 

– In doing so, the Treasury will save a phenomenal amount of money ('policing' all the types of service included in CQC will take a vast amount of time and money from the Government). In this era of budget cuts, I fail to see how the government will be able to continue to fund this inspectorate. 

– remember that there are already (quite rigorous!) inspections systems  (certainly for dental practices, anyway) which could be easily modified at a fraction of the cost of setting up the CQC.

– THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO ACT QUICKLY. My understanding is that hospitals have already undergone registration. In my opinion, any further development of the CQC could be stopped with immediate effect, thus preventing further wastage.

Why does this matter?

The CQC will waste a massive amount of time and money that our health service and treasury do not have. Focus it on the area of greatest need to give the taxpayer maximum return on investment.

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