A consistent concern we hear from clients is the length of time CQC takes to produce inspection reports following inspection. This is particularly for hospitals. It can take months following an inspection for the draft report to even reach the provider, let alone be in final form for publication to the public.
In its annual report published in July 2017, CQC recognised that improvement was needed in ensuring that reports are published more quickly so that the public and the provider understand what the concerns are. After all, sometimes there can be a few issues lurking within the report that were never raised as issues during the inspection which comes as quite a surprise to a conscientious provider who wants to put things right immediately if something is found to be wrong. Shorter and more concise reports are part of CQC's new strategy moving forward.
This month the Committee of Public Accounts in its report on how CQC is undertaking its regulatory duties, has also highlighted this as a problem specifically for hospitals – its states that there is too much of a delay in the public having information about the quality of care in a hospital. The Committee has recommended that CQC “should make sure findings from hospital inspections are available to the public as soon as possible”. CQC must update the Government in April 2019 reporting on whether performance has improved. CQC’s strategy moving forward will be to have shorter inspections and shorter reports which should make turnaround quicker.
The Commission should make sure findings from hospital inspections are available to the public as soon as possible. It should write to us in April 2019 with an update on its performance. This should include whether it has achieved the commitment it made on publishing at least 50% of hospital reports within its timeliness target by 2018–19 and how it has balanced this with maintaining the quality of reports.