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CQC to examine NHS hospitals’ efficient use of resources

Inspectors to look for sustainability and cost-effectiveness, as well as good quality of care

Louise Prime

Friday, 05 June 2015

Hospitals are soon to face examination of the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of their use of resources as well as the quality of their patient care, the Care Quality Commission announced this morning.

The CQC already monitors the financial health of large, difficult-to-replace adult social care providers. It said that from 2016 onwards, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals has been asked by the Secretary of State for Health to focus on NHS hospitals’ ability to deliver high quality patient care that is also efficient and sustainable. The CQC said that encouraging the cost-effectiveness as well as the person-centredness of good hospital care is critical at a time when tighter public finances are coinciding with an ageing population, and that its enhanced approach will enable the system-wide sharing of valuable learning about how to use resources more effectively while improving patient care.

The enhanced approach will go out to public consultation as part of CQC’s future strategy in December 2015. Because the Health and Social Care Act 2008 already gives the Commission a legal remit to encourage the efficient and effective use of resources by health and social care providers, new legislation will not be needed for the change to hospital inspections.

CQC chief executive David Behan said: “CQC’s focus will always be on quality and safety – and effective use of resources is increasingly recognised as a key element of quality. We’ll be working with partners, patient organisations, stakeholders, providers, commissioners and our staff to develop a common, comparable measure of the use of resources in the NHS – so that our judgements of hospitals’ performance are informed by assessments of patient care and use of resources alongside each other.

“This is a logical progression of our work into an area which we already have a legal remit to look at – and it will give us the ability to see the whole picture of performance, which can only be good news for patients.”

Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, added: “We’re still in the early stages – with partners including Monitor, the Trust Development Authority and NHS England – of thinking about how to build measures around use of resources into our inspections. But I believe that the increased transparency this will bring, will help hospitals to identify where they can become more efficient – and will enable CQC to share learning about delivering high quality, cost effective care across the NHS.”

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