The NHS in England faces a big challenge in meeting the Care Quality Commission’s deadline for registering against its new set of core standards, the regulator’s chair has warned.
Under the current timetable, trusts will have to register that they are complying with basic standards of service quality by 1 April or face penalties.
“The big challenge is that if you look at the current performance of NHS trusts, about 50 per cent are not fully meeting the Standards for Better Health. That is the position now. What is going to happen in six months time when we have to bring all of these trusts into registration?
“There is a lot of work to be done by some of the laggards in improving their performance against those remaining – in some case many – standards [they are not meeting], so they are in a registerable condition by the time the 1 April comes.”
Baroness Young also said the regulator would seek to turn the annual health check into a rolling programme published throughout the year – like that in place for social care providers – as well as publishing more detailed ratings for individual trust services.
“If you are a member of the public, you don’t just want to know whether your local trust is excellent, you want to know whether the orthopaedics service is good, the maternity service is good and whether you’re likely to get decent audiology treatment,” she said.
“We are looking to make it a much more rich and ongoing relationship – a dialogue between us and the service provider about how individual providers are improving their care,” she added.
Additionally Baroness Young said the CQC wanted to work with providers and commissioners to “nip poor care in the bud before it happens, rather than simply reporting on it after it’s happened”.
“There has been a bit of a habit in the past where regulators acted at a rather magisterial pace of reporting poor care post-hoc,” she said.