CQC pledges to focus on ‘the issues that matter’

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has set out its new approach to inspecting drug and alcohol services, which will ‘reflect national priorities’ and ‘put people’s recovery at the heart’. Also central to the inspection regime will be a ‘commitment to tailor inspections to the issues that matter to people using substance misuse services’, it says.

The CQC’s aim is to ensure that people are able to ‘quickly access high-quality services that assess the whole individual’, it states. The commission will ‘seek to ensure that services are safe, caring, effective, responsive to people’s needs and well-led’.

CQC will be responsible for regulating hospital inpatient-based services that provide assessment, stabilisation, and assisted withdrawal, as well as community-based services and residential rehab. Alongside therapists, doctors, psychologists and pharmacists, the commission’s ‘specially trained inspection teams’ will include ‘experts by experience’, it says, and will also use information from service users, their families and carers. ‘Key relationships’ for corroborating its decisions, meanwhile, will include Public Health England (PHE), NICE, local authorities and other relevant bodies.

‘It is vital when looking at substance misuse services that the views, opinions and experiences of people who use them are listened to and that any judgement that we make about those services reflects what we have heard,’ said CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, who will lead the inspection programme. ‘I am determined that this experience of care and treatment form a central part of the future inspection of services.

‘I will be giving ratings to substance misuse service providers so people can be clear about the quality of services and to help drive improvement,’ he continued. ‘Where we can, we will align our inspections of substance misuse services with other sectors we regulate, such as community mental health or learning disability services, community services, primary care services and acute hospitals.’

CQC is also consulting on its guidelines for health and social care services ‘to set the bar below which care should not fall’, including what providers should do when things go wrong and how to ensure staff are fit for their roles.

Consultation at www.cqc.org.uk/content/consultation-our-guidance-help-services-meet-new-regulations, until 17 October.

A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of substance misuse services at www.cqc.org.uk

See David Finney’s article, All change.