Care Quality Commission’s first quarterly report reveals positive results for independent sector providers performance against “essential standards”.

The Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) has published a first quarterly report which shows that 82 per cent of all independent acute and mental health providers are meeting all of the Commission’s prescribed “essential standards”. The report is the first in a series of quarterly publications that will track current performance across all sectors as well as flagging issues of concern.

Looking through the report, which presents the results of inspections of more than 14,000 services between the start of the new regulatory system and 31 March 2012 and covers all sectors that the CQC currently regulates (healthcare, adult social care and dental care), the following points to note arise:

As at April 2012, there were 1,227 independent healthcare providers registered with the CQC at 2,764 locations. In 18 per cent of cases (151 locations), the service did not meet at least one essential standard and CQC required an action plan to be put in place. In 1 per cent of cases (six locations) there was serious non-compliance that required the CQC to use its powers on a more urgent basis.

All providers were assessed against 12 outcomes, with independent healthcare providers demonstrating higher levels of compliance on 8 out of the 12 outcomes than their NHS hospital counterparts. In particular, high scores were achieved on: cooperation with other providers (100 per cent), meeting nutritional needs (100 per cent), respecting and involving people who use services (97 per cent), complaints management (97 per cent%) and the safety and suitability of premises (97 per cent%).

Areas of development for independent healthcare hospitals and clinics (ie, where compliance was below 90 per cent) were those dealing with the management of medicines (88 per cent) and record keeping (87 per cent). Where records management was an issue, the CQC found a range of problems across all sectors such as records being incomplete or not up-to-date, unsecure storage and issues of confidentiality amongst others.

Despite the positive messages emerging from the report, it is important to note that the independent healthcare figures illustrated above are a combination of acute and mental health services. This is a factor which CQC have identified, acknowledging within the report that “there are emerging indications that there may be a disparity between the performance of acute hospital services and mental health services in the independent sector, and this is something we will explore in a future report”.

We will, of course, seek to provide further information on related reports as and when they are published. In the meantime, to access the full first quarter report, please see: Our Market Report: Independent healthcare