CQC outlines priorities for improving monitoring, inspection and regulation of ambulance services

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a signposting document outlining initial thoughts on how it intends to regulate ambulance services in England.

A fresh start for the regulation of ambulance services builds on the new vision and direction set out for the CQC in its strategy for 2013–2016, Raising standards, putting people first, and the changes proposed in the way health and social care services are regulated in the consultation document, A new start.

These changes were developed through engagement with the public, CQC staff, providers and key organisations.
The document sets out the CQC’s priorities on how it monitors, inspects and regulates ambulance services.

It also sets out the conversation the CQC wants to have with all its stakeholders in the ambulance service, including the people who use services, their families and carers, in order that it can develop a new approach which places matters important to patients at its heart.

As part of the new operating model that the CQC will use, it has set out a number of principles that will help guide how the CQC will inspect and regulate all care services. These include: the way the CQC register those that apply to provide services; the standards that those services meet; how the CQC uses data, evidence and information to monitor services; the specialists used to carry out inspections; how the public are given information on judgements about poor care quality, including a rating to help people compare services; and the action to require providers to improve, making sure those responsible for poor care are held accountable.

While these principles will guide the regulation of ambulance services, the detail of how the CQC will do this will be specific to the sector.

Five key questions will be asked of all services, to establish whether patients are receiving the necessary level of care: are they safe? Are they effective? Are they caring? Are they responsive? Are they well-led?

New inspection methodologies for the ambulance sector will begin in July. This will be followed by further inspections from October, to help refine the inspection methodologies and provide a meaningful system of inspections.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 28 April 2014.

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