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RIP to SHA’s in the NHS? CQC to take over? errr, no.

In Health industry on February 2, 2009 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

The HSJ reports that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) could make SHAs redundant. Frances Blunden of the NHS Confederation (whoever they are; it’s all SO confusing – from their website it appears that they are some sort of union, to “serve their members interests”, but also put “patient and public first”… can you really do both? Anyway…) said the massive powers wielded by the Care Quality Commission will increase duplication between SHAs and regulators. “There are increasingly strong concerns from providers about what they’re being asked for from SHAs and a strong sense that it’s duplicating the regulatory approach. Under the CQC, there would be a much stronger regulatory regime. If we have the CQC, and that becomes robust… one has to question why we need the SHA role.”

I suppose this would be a story if the primary role of SHAs was one of regulation, but while that is part of their remit they are meant to do much more (of course, didn’t you know?). SHAs are meant to 1) provide strategic leadership to the local NHS, ensuring national policy is implemented at a local level; 2) lead on organisational and workforce development, ensuring organisations are fit for purpose and that the local NHS has a workforce that will meet the future healthcare needs of the population; 3) performance manage local trusts to ensure local systems operate effectively and deliver improved performance and value for money. Bit more than just regulation then…

The CQC, for those of you who don’t know, is a (probably pretty crazy) amalgamation of the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Healthcare Commission, and the Mental Health Act Commission. I say probably pretty crazy because what’s the point of having a joined up regulator if you don’t have a joined up service? The process of regulating hospitals (quantitative) is very different from regulating care homes (qualitative). Anyway, the CQC has its own problems; nepotism, springs to mind. It’ll be complete chaos for at least a good year or so while they sort themselves out, then another year later they’ll be written out of existence by a new administration. Such is the way of the NHS.

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