Hospital inspections ‘to be tougher’

Hospital inspections to be more robust, chief inspector says

Fourteen hospital trusts has been investigated in light in their high mortality rates

The way hospital inspections in England was finished was flawed and they’re to become broader and more robust, the brand new chief inspector says.

Prof Sir Mike Richards said the system utilized by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have been too narrow in focus.

He desires to recruit a “small army” of doctors, nurses, patients and carers to hold out inspections and ratings.

It comes as 11 trusts was put into special measures after previously unidentified failings were uncovered.

The move was announced on Tuesday after the general publication of an independent review led by NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.

An investigation into 14 hospital trusts was launched earlier this year following the general public inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal, which said the public have been betrayed by a system which put “corporate self-interest” in advance of patients.

The trusts were identified as that they had the very best death rates in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

The probe involved in whether the figures indicated sustained failings within the quality of care and treatment on the trusts.

Only two of the 11 trusts that ended up in special measures were facing sanctions from the CQC.

‘Fair and transparent’

Setting out his plans to reform the best way hospitals are inspected, Sir Mike, who formally took up his post this week, said: “We’re changing it because we recognise it was flawed.”

He added the former system, which involved finishing up themed inspections on issues corresponding to nutrition and infection control, could be replaced by one who checked out the hospital in its entirety.

He said the changes were in keeping with the methods adopted by the Keogh review, which he was invited to participate in.

Sir Mike said the dimensions of the CQC inspection teams will be increased to greater than 20 – they have got traditionally involved about five people – to mirror the greater scope of the reviews.

They might be made of patients, doctors, nurses and other professionals to verify they’d greater breadth of data.

“i would like to begin building a small army of inspectors,” Sir Mike said.

“These inspectors have to come from different walks of life, a few of them could be practising clinicians who will come and do two or three inspections a year, some others might be retired clinicians, but importantly we’re also seeking patients and carers and we will be able to provide training.”

Under the recent regime, hospitals may also get school-style ratings of “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement” or “inadequate” – something that has already been announced by ministers.

Sir Mike said those deemed inadequate can also face being put into special measures, which involves teams of external experts being brought in to make certain changes happen.

And he said the CQC will be paying close attention to death rates, in addition to other triggers which includes patient surveys, mistakes and infection rates to determine which trusts need to be prioritised for inspection.

The new process could be “robust, fair and transparent”, he added.

The first wave of 18 inspections is because of start within the next month, with the purpose of inspecting all 161 trusts by December 2015.

Funding of £25m for the hot initiative will come from more cash announced for the CQC by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in April.