A clinical commissioning group leader has called on the Care Quality Commission to allow CCGs to join inspections of their local hospitals.

Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG chief clinical officer Vicky Pleydell has twice written to the CQC to make the request.

However, chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards has rejected it “due to potential conflicts of interest”.

Dr Pleydell said in one of the letters to Sir Mike: “Reflecting on the past, I think one of the issues we face is that the system we have is too complex. There are too many organisations trying to do aspects of the same role.

“Hence, I would like to suggest that these inspections are carried out jointly between the CQC and the local commissioners of the service.”

She said this would “[signal] to the hospital the importance of working closely and openly with their local commissioners on issues of quality, safety and performance in an ongoing way” and would improve the monitoring of follow up requirements.

This letter was sent last year and shared with HSJ this week.

Dr Pleydell wrote to the CQC again last week asking to be involved in a specific inspection of its local hospital provider, South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust, which is due to take place in December.

Vicky Pleydell

CCG involvement would make CQC inspections ‘richer’, Vicky Pleydell said

She said in this letter: “As a CCG we would welcome taking an active role in the visit, as well as contributing to the preparatory work and post-visit feedback.”

Dr Pleydell told HSJ on Monday: “It would make the CQC inspection richer to have CCGs there.”

Commissioners would “bring a lot of very local knowledge at a granular level”, which “you can’t sum up” in the “data packs” that CCGs are able to contribute to prior to CQC inspections.

“The GPs in my CCG refer to the trust [and] patients come and talk to them about issues in the trust every day,” she said.

CCGs could also learn “an enormous amount” from the regulator by joining inspections, Dr Pleydell added.

She said joint inspections would “send a very clear message to everybody that despite the fact that the NHS is quite fragmented in its structure, we are working together”.

Sir Mike said in a statement: “We always encourage the wider health community to become involved in the pre- and post-inspection phases so that we get a full picture of the provider.

“As an independent regulator we don’t usually allow parties to join us during the actual inspection due to potential conflicts of interest.”

  • Sir Mike Richards will answer your questions about the CQC in an HSJ webinar on 8 October. Sign up to take part