PDA responds to the Care Quality Commission’s proposed new strategy

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the regulator that monitors, inspects and regulates health and social care services provided in GP surgeries, hospitals, care homes, and many other settings. It recently consulted on its new strategy titled “The world of health and social care is changing. So are we.”

Wed 7th April 2021 The PDA

The CQC is the regulator that monitors and inspects many settings that pharmacists practice in. These settings include GP surgeries, hospitals and care homes. In light of the pandemic and also in light of anticipated major Government changes to NHS and social care structures, the CQC is proposing a major change to its regulatory strategy. Its new strategy is built around 4 themes:

  • Smarter regulation
  • Accelerating improvement
  • Safety through learning
  • People and communities.

The CQC currently conducts periodic inspections within settings and whilst it is proposing to retain its inspection capability, it proposes to use a “targeted” approach. The CQC says it has IT systems to enable it to take a targeted approach which would be based on artificial intelligence (AI) analysing data and information together with patient feedback. Settings would then be “targeted” for inspections on the basis of this artificial intelligence and analysis methodology.

The PDA has significant concerns about the proposals for a lesser role of in-situ inspections and the reliance on untested “artificial intelligence”, especially when many AI systems have inbuilt biases due to poorly constructed algorithms.

The CQC also proposes to oversee and inspect “systems” as the NHS and social care become part of local integrated care systems. It also proposes to play a “leadership role in driving improvement, advocating for the issues that matter to people who use services.”

The PDA disagrees with the suggestion that the CQC takes on a leadership role as this would conflict with its regulatory role. The whole of the post-Shipman reforms has focused on ensuring separation of leadership and regulatory roles to minimise conflicts of interest.

We are especially concerned that systemic issues, as highlighted in many public inquiries, are at the heart of many failures in healthcare settings and that the proposed strategy of reduced in-situ inspections will fail to identify areas of systemic risk.

Download the PDA’s full response here

thumbnail of PDA CQC Consultation Response


Download the consultation document here

thumbnail of 100 2021 Consultation


The consultation closed on 04/03/2021.




The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

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