CQC chief executive David Behan has acknowledged that the heavy workloads of his new inspection regime have had a “negative impact” on the morale of some staff.

Earlier this month HSJ exclusively revealed that a number of CQC inspectors had told management they felt “exhausted” and “drained” by the hours they had worked to roll out the CQC’s new inspection approach.

The comments were made in notes of a meeting of the regulator’s joint national consultative committee leaked to HSJ.

In a report presented to the CQC board last week, Mr Behan admitted that vacancies within inspection teams were “adding to the workloads of existing staff, at a time when staff are beginning to adapt to new methodologies”.

David Behan

David Behan said the inspection approach would be subject to a ‘formal risk assessment’

“For some, their workload… is having a negative impact on their morale,” Mr Behan said.

This view was backed up by a staff survey, which found that despite a significant increase in staff satisfaction compared to last year, responses on “work/life balance” and “feeling supported in carrying out my role” went backwards.

While the CQC has launched a recruitment programme to fill the vacancies, many individuals who will be offered jobs would be unable to take on operational work “until at least October”, the report said.

Mr Behan said the inspection approach would be subject to a “formal risk assessment”, which would begin with the acute hospital team and then be repeated for other inspectorates. The outcomes of these assessments would then be discussed with trade unions to formulate “mitigating actions”.

He said the executive team had already agreed some actions such as “extending the use of bank inspectors and supporting cross-directorate loans” and that more work would be done to prioritise work and balance resources.