Dropping on to GP practices’ doormats any time now will be missives from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) making them an offer they can’t refuse, and it’s free. Primary care businesses are being reminded that under the 2008 Health and Social Care Act, providers of primary medical services must register with them by 1 April 2012. This is important for a number of reasons, not least because NHS primary medical services who register must show that they meet essential standards of care.
Registration is mandatory – but free – for GP practices, primary care out-of-hours services and some walk-in centres. This is a big step forward for quality and safety of services and the role of patients as customers of these front line services.
Two of these standards (called regulations) that MAC particularly endorses are involvement in care and decision making and complaints.
For each regulation, there is an associated outcome – which the CQC defines as “the experiences we expect people to have as a result of the care they receive.”
Regs we like
Regulation 17: Respecting and involving people who use services
[outcome] “People understand the care and treatment choices available to them. They can express their views and are involved in making decisions about their care. They have their privacy, dignity and independence respected, and have their views and experiences taken into account in the way in which the service is delivered.”
Regulation 19: Complaints
[outcome] “People and those acting on their behalf have their comments and complaints listened to and acted on effectively, and know that they will not be discriminated against for making a complaint.”
Show us the evidence
Practices must show evidence that they comply with these standards/regulations. We think that is an excellent incentive to practices and the commissioning consortia to which they will belong – and the Pathfinders can show the way – to really get to grips with making engagement and shared decision making a reality. They should be doing it anyway if they understand patients as customers; now the CQC is making it clear that evidence of compliance must precede registration.
The Moore Adamson Craig Partnership supports user and public participation, trains lay representatives and develops responsive health, care and education organisations. We are ready to work with and support all those who want to make sense and a success of the new structures of patient and public engagement within the new arrangements for health and social care commissioning and providing. Feel free to contact us to discuss the opportunities.