• Remploy to cut pay for experts by experience to £10.44 an hour despite other contract provider keeping rate at £15 an hour
  • HSJ has seen correspondence in which Remploy blames the CQC for the move
  • There has been long running controversy surrounding contract tender

Some of the Care Quality Commission’s patient experts are to have their pay cut again in the ongoing controversy surrounding their new contracts.

HSJ has learnt that from 1 April, employment agency Remploy will cut the hourly pay rate for experts by experience by nearly 20 per cent. Remploy provides three out of the four regional CQC patient expert contracts, in the North, South and London.

Microscope looking at hospital bed

Microscope looking at hospital bed

Experts by experience bring service user perspective to CQC inspections

The CQC’s arrangements with Remploy have been contentious, with the company initially announcing it would cut expert by experience pay by more than half when it took over the contract in February 2016.

The CQC was forced to intervene to ensure the hourly rate of £15 would remain for the first six months of the contract, before dropping to £12.50 an hour for at least six months.

HSJ has now seen correspondence from Remploy to an incumbent patient expert saying the rate will be reduced to £10.44 an hour. The expert told HSJ that as a result they will be resigning from their role.

In the email, Remploy blamed the CQC for the move and said: “The decision to terminate the extended transitional rate of pay for experts… was made by the CQC to ensure equitable pay for all experts and value for money for CQC.”

A CQC team leader responded to the concerns raised by the expert after they passed on the email from Remploy. The team leader said they were “dismayed” to see Remploy had blamed the CQC, adding: “This not an accurate reflection of the situation.” They said: “We will be raising our concerns about the communication you received with Remploy.”

The other expert by experience contract holder, Choice Support, confirmed it will continue to pay its experts £15 an hour.

A CQC spokeswoman said: “The [experts by experience] programme is managed on our behalf by Remploy (in the North, South and London regions) and Choice Support (Central region), which employ our experts by experience and set their terms and conditions, including pay rates.”

A spokesman for Remploy said: “While pay rates will be reduced for [a group of experts by experience], the changes will mean that all of our experts will now earn the same hourly rate for their work.”

Gareth Parry, Remploy chief executive, added: “We are pleased that this contract is now performing to the high professional standard we would expect of a contract delivered by Remploy. We value the participation of all of our experts and hope that they will continue to be part of the programme.”

The CQC has previously admitted failings over the procurement process for the experts by experience contracts. In July, it apologised to patient experts “who experienced inconvenience and distress”.

Experts by experience are people with personal experience of health and social care services employed to bring a service user perspective to CQC inspections.