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Creation of the CQC: Masterstroke or mistake?
Once a masterstroke
In the wake of recent events that have put the CQC in the headlines, the regulator is under some scrutiny by the media and politicians.
Created by an Act of Parliament the CQC was formed in 2009. In what some once thought a masterstroke, the CQC brought health and social care regulation in England under one roof. The CQC consolidated the operations of the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Mental Health Act Commission.
Certainly it is easy to see the logic of bringing health and social care regulation together. With the line between them becoming increasingly blurred, it is often difficult to see where healthcare ends and social care begins.
Actually a mistake
Naturally, consolidation produced the ability to eliminate duplication and the CQC’s funding was £164 million, less than the combined cost of the three former organisations. However, some are making the suggestion that what was once a masterstroke was actually a mistake.
Measured against the scale of the UK’s national economy, the CQC straddles a sector that is quite simply a behemoth. With almost 3 million employees in NHS England and the independent health and social care sector, the NHS 2013 budget is almost £109 billion and the value to the economy of the adult social care sector is put at £43bn.
Consequently the task for the CQC is enormous, regulating, registering and inspecting 23,000 organisations across 40,000 locations.
As regulatory failure seems to be increasingly associated with the CQC, the questions that are emerging seem to be about size: Is the CQC too big? Or is the sector too large for a single regulator?
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