Concern grows as number of CQC reports with duplicated material rises

Care England has expressed concern over the regulator duplicating material used in inspection reports, arguing operators expect accuracy considering the amounts of money they are investing in improving quality.

An internal audit at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found duplicate material was used in 108 reports, rising from an initial 78 when The Times first reported the story on Tuesday.

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said: ‘Care providers have invested heavily in improving quality, transparency and developing open cultures and have a right to expect the same from the regulator, particularly since providers are paying significant amounts of money for this service. Citizens also need to be confident in the CQC assessments, because this is the primary source of information when they are making life changing decisions about care.

‘Care providers expect the CQC to be open and transparent, and for their reports to be accurate. If there have to be re-inspections of some services, a refund on the regulatory fees paid by providers should be given because the service has not been delivered to the required standard.’

The CQC, which carried out more than 17,000 inspections across all sectors in 2018/2019, uncovered the issue through its quality assurance processes. It has removed two experts by experience (ExE) and one specialist adviser from inspection activity.

ExE are not CQC employees but members of the public who have experience of using or caring for someone who uses health or social care services.

A source told CM that while most relations between ExE and inspectors are mostly positive, it ‘can be tense’ at times, with some ExE feeling ‘undervalued’.

The CQC said it is undertaking a ‘lessons learned’ exercise to see how the quality assurance process can be improved to reduce any likelihood of such cases happening again.

Following analysis and peer review, most of the reports have been republished and did not affect the rating of the service.

‘There are also a number of locations where, following review, we have decided to reinspect to ensure that the public voice is fully reflected,’ Kate Terroni, CQC chief inspector of adult social care, said. ‘For those reports where the specialist adviser was involved we will be re-inspecting to ensure that we can be confident in the ratings and findings. All providers affected have now been informed and updates for each location are highlighted on our website.

‘We are taking all actions necessary to reduce the risk of this happening again.’