The IAA welcomes CQC’s consultation on their approach to regulation, including Ratings, which went live on 26th January 2021. This is the first major review of Ratings since they were introduced in 2016.

Ratings were initially limited to NHS Trusts, independent hospitals, general practices and adult social care services, but were extended to other care settings, including independent ambulance providers in July 2018.

In their State of Care Report  published in October 2020, CQC confirmed 101 independent ambulance providers (out of over 280 registered locations) had been Rated (with 53% rated as GOOD), leaving over 150 providers not Rated.

Due to the pandemic, CQC suspended site visits in March 2021 (except those involving cause for concern). Rating, and more importantly Re-Rating visits also stopped, leaving those providers who had made the required improvements still being rated as INADEQUATE or REQUIRING IMPROVEMENT, and at a disadvantage when bidding for work.

Commenting, IAA Executive Chairman Alan Howson said “We welcome this consultation, particularly reviewing the rules for Rating providers, which is something the Association have been pressing CQC to do for some time.

We’re aware of instances where Members Rated below GOOD and awaiting Re-Rating have been prevented from joining NHS provider frameworks; there are no such restrictions for newly registered providers not yet Rated. Without provision in the Rules to re-Rate a provider without a CQC visit is, in our view, fundamentally unfair.”

Alan continued, “In contrast, if a vehicle fails its MoT with only minor faults, the vehicle can be used pending repair and is re-tested within 10 days. In other instances, the vehicle must be taken off the road until repairs are carried out. In both cases, once the repairs have been completed to the required standard, a new MoT certificate is issued immediately confirming the vehicle is ‘good to go’.

We sincerely hope that the consultation will result in a more flexible and responsive approach to regulating providers.

Details of the CQC consultation on Ratings can be found via this link, contribution via this link.