The newly appointed Care Quality Commission chair has revealed she is not convinced by government proposals to regulate GPs.
Baroness Young told HSJ she agreed the Health and Social Care Bill should allow for some primary care services to be absorbed into the main regulatory regime.
But whether this included GPs was “up for debate”.
Plans to directly regulate GPswere set out in a Department of Health consultation in April and welcomed by primary care managers.
But Baroness Young said it was not yet clear whether the budget was big enough. “The one thing that would be really bad news is if the commission spread itself wider without the additional resources,” she said.
Her first priority was to “make sure that the work of the commissions doesn’t falter” and draw on the experience of the three prior agencies.
She said it was important for the transition process to be managed by a group of people who were not involved in the day-to-day running of the separate commissions.
The Care Quality Commission’s chief executive would need to be “a difficult combination of someone visionary and a strategic thinker,” she said.
It was not important whether the candidate came from health or social care as “it would be short-changing the commission to say they must come from one sector or another”.
The Health and Social Care Bill will merge three quangos into the new commission: the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Mental Health Act Commission.
After setting up in shadow form in October, it will become fully active next April.
Regarding fears from Monitor, the foundation trust regulator, that the commission would duplicate its powers to intervene with failing trusts, she said discussions were ongoing.
“It would be unwise if the CQC wasn’t carrying out the job of regulation and inspection across the totality of the spectrum of health and social care provision, irrespective of foundation trusts.”
She admitted she left the NHS in the 1980s due to a “mid-life crisis” and because of the emerging purchaser-provider split.
“I loved those jobs where we were commissioner and provider. You could work with a community to work out what it needed and put in place measures to make sure that was addressed.”
“Life has moved on. Twenty years later, there’s a different model operating,” she added.
The former NHS manager said she had been “taken aback” at concerns that health would overwhelm social care issues at the CQC. She would be “bending backwards” to get stuck into the social care agenda.