A clinical commissioning group leader has renewed calls for CCGs to be given a role in hospital inspections after it emerged an NHS England official had led one in London.
The call comes from Tower Hamlets CCG chair Sam Everington after the Care Quality Commission confirmed Andy Mitchell, the medical director of NHS England’s London area team, had chaired an inspection of Barts Health Trust in January.
About £300m of Barts’ £1.3bn total turnover is spent on specialised services, directly commissioned by the London area team.
Dr Everington, whose CCG is the main commissioner of services at Barts, said the CQC’s decision to allow the member of a national commissioner to join an inspection should be extended to CCGs.
“If the medical director of specialised commissioning is allowed to chair an inspection, [the CQC] should allow all commissioners to be part of the inspection process,” he added.
Allowing CCGs to take part in inspections would “deliver much greater quality improvement in the longer term”, he added.
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Commissioner were also the ones keeping tabs on quality, improvement and managed improvement between inspections, Dr Everington added.
Vicky Pleydell, clinical officer of Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG, has twice written to the CQC calling for CCGs to be able to join inspections of their local hospitals.
The CQC has repeatedly refused requests by CCGs to join inspection teams, citing concerns over potential conflicts of interests.
A CQC spokesman said: “Our acute hospital inspections focus on the acute and general services provided by hospitals.
“NHS London only commissions specialised services from the trust. As these were not covered by the inspection, there was no conflict of interest.”
Information provided to HSJ