Nurses are being asked to rate the Care Quality Commission and its approach to regulating essential standards, following a fresh wave of high profile care failings.
The Royal College of Nursing is asking its members whether the under fire regulator is sufficiently clear about compliance with its essential standards of care and whether they agree with its current approach to inspections.
The CQC has found itself under unwelcome scrutiny since being criticised over its handling of the serious care failings found at Basildon Hospital in late 2009.
Witnesses at the Mid Staffordshire public inquiry have also questioned whether the CQC has enough resources to mount national investigations or sufficient clinical staff in its regional teams.
It received criticism last month for its apparent failure to act on a whistleblower’s concerns about the Winterbourne View care home in Bristol where abuse was subsequently uncovered by the BBC.
The college states: “The failures to provide acceptable levels of care in Mid Staffordshire hospital and Winterbourne View care home are notable and shocking examples of appalling harm to vulnerable people.
“In the latter case, it appears that there were multiple failures; from the staff themselves to the employer and commissioners of care who have a responsibility to ensure safe and quality care, and to the Care Quality Commission who failed to act when a whistleblower approached them to raise concerns.
“We would like to know more about your views, perceptions and experiences of CQC and the work it carries out.”
The RCN survey asks nurses whether the CQC is “clear” about its essential standards of safety and care quality, whether its approach is “fair and proportionate”, and whether it takes staffing levels and skill mix sufficiently into account during assessments.
It also asks how CQC inspections should be carried out – for example, announced or unannounced – and how regularly they should take place.
The results will help inform what improvements and policies the RCN calls for in relation to the regulator’s work.