The CQC has recently issued a press release stating that, as part of its acute hospital inspections and assessment programme, it will run community focus groups in those communities using the individual hospitals under assessment. Twelve focus groups have been set up with three specific aims: to reach out to people receiving any type of service from the specific hospital; to target patients who receive a service that the CQC has identified as having possible risks; and to target people in specific groups such as the Muslim communities or people with learning disabilities.
The Commission will be testing out the approach and the evidence gathered from the focus groups to help shape future inspections of services. In addition, other campaigns of public awareness and feedback are being increased.
Philippa Luscombe, partner in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Solicitors, said: “The whole process of independent review and assessment of NHS hospitals has been a mixed bag recently. The CQC has had some terrible publicity about failing to act on clearly identified or identifiable problems. However, the Keogh report has marked a huge step forward in identifying those trusts where standards of patient safety are unacceptable and ensuring that steps are taken to improve them. Any initiative by the CQC to gather information that provides the full picture – which includes feedback from those using hospital services - has got to be a good thing. It then needs to be followed through with an analysis of the data gathered and, where necessary, taking steps to deal with issues of patient safety that become apparent.”