Commenting on the publication of the Public Accounts Committee's report on the performance of the Care Quality Commission, Anna Dixon, Director of Policy at The King's Fund said:
'This report once again highlights the challenges the Care Quality Commission has faced since it was set up in 2009.
'But it is important to keep this in perspective. The main responsibility for ensuring care standards are met lies with frontline staff and hospital boards. We must be realistic about what the regulator can do – its role is to act as a backstop when they fail in this task.
'The Commission had a troubled beginning, exacerbated by a lack of clarity about its role and a failure to provide the resources needed for it to meet the enormous and complex task it was given. Politicians must bear some of the responsibility for this – it is no good preaching the virtues of light touch regulation, and then blaming the regulator for not taking a more interventionist approach when problems emerge.
'It has been open season on the CQC for some time now. While it must address its shortcomings, it is time to move on to a wider debate about how to design a system of quality assurance that patients and service-users can have confidence in.'
Notes to editors:
Anna Dixon gave evidence at the Committee’s hearing on 25 January 2012.
For further information, or to request an interview with Anna Dixon, please contact The King's Fund's Press Office on 020 7307 2585 or 07584 146 035 if calling out of hours.