Introduction: Building on the Overview
In our previous blog, we provided an initial overview of the Care Quality Commission (CQC)’s new assessment framework. This article serves as a detailed continuation, delving deeper into the intricacies and implications of this innovative approach. The framework, applicable to providers, local authorities, and integrated care systems, builds on CQC’s traditional methods, incorporating the established five key questions and a four-point ratings scale. It introduces comprehensive quality statements, forming the bedrock of high-quality, person-centred care.
These quality statements serve as a blueprint for how services and providers should collaborate to plan and deliver exceptional care. They are not only guidelines but also reflect the expectations and standards for healthcare providers. These statements focus on inclusive care, catering to people with protected equality characteristics and those prone to experiencing care inequalities. By addressing these nuances, the framework ensures a comprehensive approach to quality assessment.
Comprehensive Evidence Categories
The framework divides evidence into six distinct categories, each offering insights into the quality of care and performance against each quality statement. This division aims to provide transparency and consistency in the CQC’s judgements. The variety of evidence considered depends on the service type, the level of assessment, and whether the service is existing or newly registered.
People’s Experiences at the Core
Central to the framework is the focus on people’s experiences, which encompass their needs, expectations, lived experiences, and overall satisfaction with their care. The framework considers the perspectives of service users, their families, friends, and advocates as primary sources of evidence. In cases where feedback indicates poor care experiences, the CQC takes this seriously, initiating further investigations and ensuring that such feedback is addressed promptly and effectively.
Integration of the ‘Making It Real’ Framework
To enhance the quality statements, the CQC has incorporated elements from the Making It Real framework, developed in collaboration with Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) and partners, including individuals with lived health and care service experiences. This framework underscores the importance of personalized care and provides a set of jargon-free, personalized principles focusing on what matters most to people. The integration of ‘I statements’ from Making It Real into each quality statement aids in clarifying what a good care experience should encompass, assisting in the evidence gathering process.
Transition from Current Model
Evolution in Gathering Evidence
The new framework marks a significant shift in how evidence is gathered. The CQC will now leverage a wider range of information sources, particularly emphasizing people’s experiences of services. Inspections, while still crucial, will play a supporting role to a broader evidence-gathering approach.
Changes in Assessment Frequency
The frequency of assessments will no longer be dictated primarily by the service’s previous rating. Instead, any new evidence or information received can initiate an assessment. This approach allows for more timely and relevant evaluations of service quality.
Enhanced Quality Assessment
Judgements about service quality will be conducted more frequently and will not be confined to post-inspection periods. The framework employs a variety of evidence sources and reviews multiple quality statements to make more structured and transparent assessments. The decision-making process regarding ratings will be clearer and more accessible for understanding.
Continuous Improvement and Flexibility
This new assessment framework is designed not only to evaluate but also to improve the quality of care continuously. It allows for updates in ratings and quality assessments based on more frequent and varied evidence reviews. By being selective in examining specific quality statements, the framework can adapt to different service contexts and needs.
Conclusion: A Paradigm Shift in Health and Social Care Assessment
The introduction of the CQC’s new assessment framework marks a paradigm shift in evaluating health and social care services. It represents a move towards a more comprehensive, experience-focused, and transparent approach. The framework places the experiences and satisfaction of service users at its core, ensuring that their voices are central to the assessment process. By using a structured, evidence-based system, the framework aims to ensure accurate and consistent assessments of care quality. This approach not only benefits service users by addressing their specific needs and expectations but also provides clear guidelines and expectations for service providers, fostering an environment of continuous improvement and excellence in care.
Ultimately, the CQC’s new framework underscores the commission’s commitment to evolving and adapting its methods to better serve the needs of the public. By placing a greater emphasis on individual experiences and broadening the scope of evidence considered in assessments, the CQC sets a new standard in healthcare quality evaluation. This approach aligns with contemporary healthcare values, focusing on personalized care and the holistic well-being of service users. The CQC, through this framework, reinforces its role as a pivotal entity in ensuring high standards in health and social care services, fostering trust and reliability in the healthcare system.