Government pause for thought on ICS ratings

Earlier last week, the regulator published its interim guidance on its approach to assessing integrated care systems (ICSs). Initially it will focus on the quality and safety theme under the equity in access quality statement which forms part of the new single assessment framework due to come into force later in the year.

CQC were given powers under the Health and Care Act 2022 to assess ICSs and local authorities but its approach to assessing them is currently awaiting the “approval of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care”.

While CQC plan to pilot their approach with some ICSs starting in April 2023, local authorities are preparing for assessments on their adult social care provision starting proper next month. However, announcing the CQC’s framework for oversight of ICSs, it said that it will be “focusing on the initial baselining period. It includes how [they] plan to gather evidence, report on findings and award ratings, if requested to by HM Government.” This latest statement suggests that no firm plans have been made about whether CQC will rate ICSs.

Patricia Hewitt’s review of ICSs in England is due to be published shortly, and its review will consider among other issues the role of the CQC and its system of oversight. ICS leaders can expect the regulator to publish a further iteration of the guidance as it looks to consider the outputs of the review.

We’ll keep readers updated.

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