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News - 3 December 2011

Care Quality Commission is struggling.

The National Audit Office (NAO) has found that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had carried out just 47% of planned reviews between October 2010 and April this year, and that since its creation two years ago has “struggled.”
In 2009 The CQC took over from the then three regulation bodies, the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Mental Health Act Commission. The subsequent time they say has been a "challenging period" but that it was now "on track".
The main problem has been lack of qualified staff, as of the end of September, 14% of posts were unfilled - including 100 inspectors' posts, with the CQC affected by government recruitment constraints, which have now been relaxed.
The staff shortage meant that the commission had completed just 47% of its planned assessments between October 2010 and April 2011.
The NAO concluded that the CQC had not, so far, achieved value for money - and said both the commission and the Department of Health were responsible.
Its work also came under scrutiny after abuse at the Winterbourne View residential home near Bristol came to light.
CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said: "Not everything has gone smoothly, but we have learned, reviewed what we do and made changes.
But Margaret Hodge, chair of the House of Commons public accounts committee, said: "The findings are deeply worrying and highlight significant failures that put patient care at risk."
The CQC in numbers
• £139m spent in 2010-11
• 21,600 organisations currently registered
• 14% of vacancies unfilled as of 30 September 2011
• 47% of registrations not completed on time
• 47% of planned inspections not carried out October 2010- April 2011
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