The Care Quality Commission wants to avoid merging with Monitor if at all possible, HSJ has been told.
In his report into the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry Robert Francis QC recommended the CQC took on Monitor’s functions for “corporate governance” and “financial competence”.
However, CQC chair David Prior told HSJ his initial response was that it would not be good for the CQC to go through any formal merger with Monitor. He also said the objectives of Mr Francis’ recommendation could be achieved through closer working.
He said: “We can probably achieve what Robert Francis wants us to achieve without a formal merger with Monitor… The history of the CQC is of three mergers that happened six years ago and the ramifications are still being felt. To go through another merger now might be an unnecessary distraction.”
Mr Prior said he agreed fully with the intention of Mr Francis’ recommendation – to signal the fundamental importance of quality – but hoped through closer working with Monitor on the authorisation of foundation trusts, dealing with failing hospitals and inspections looking at governance it could be avoided.
If that did not work he said they would look again at a reorganisation.
Asked about the prime minister’s announcement, in response to the Francis report, that he had asked the CQC to create the new post of chief inspector of hospitals Mr Prior said it fit with the regulator’s new direction following a recent consultation on its future strategy.
“Respondents to our consultation were almost of the unanimous view that we shold no longer inspect on a generic basis [for health,mental health and social care]… The idea of having a chief inspector of hospitals fits exactly,” he said.
Mr Prior revealed the CQC is also considering creating a chief inspector for social care but needed to give more thought to a similar role in mental health.
Mr Cameron also told MPs the CQC would be “starting a new inspections regime in the Autumn”. Mr Prior said the CQC was planning to present detailed proposals for a “reorganised and refocused” CQC to the DH within in a month, in light of the Francis report and the response to its consultation, with the aim of implementing them by the Autumn.