Finding the balance: regulation of NHS Providers
This report outlines the results of an NHS Providers member survey on the regulatory regime, carried out in September 2014. It explores the burden of regulation experienced by NHS foundation trusts and trusts and considers how this burden may be impacting on their ability to drive improvement and service change.
The regulation of NHS providers is complex and involves multiple organisations with overlapping responsibilities. It is essential that we understand the regulatory environment our members are operating in, the potential benefits of regulation for patients and providers, and the burden it can place on NHS providers. This enables us to work with the regulators and statutory bodies to shape the current and future regulatory framework to ensure it allows the sector to lead its own improvement and pursue new models of care.
This report outlines the results of an NHS Providers member survey on the regulatory regime, carried out in September 2014. It explores the burden of regulation experienced by NHS trusts and foundation trusts and considers how this burden may be impacting on their ability to drive improvement and service change.
Key messages from the report include:
- Overall, respondents generally felt that their regulators were effectively fulfilling the roles. However some concerns were raised about particular functions of individual regulators, mainly around conflicts of interest, duplication and clarity.
- Regulation was seen to facilitate improvements around in-house reporting, provide additional insight and assurance to trust boards, as well as to provide focus to strategic and operational planning.
- There was a sense from respondents that the increasing regulatory burden distracts providers from addressing the real issues, while they feed the ‘regulatory machine’.
- The current regulatory environment may be impacting on perceived lines of accountability;
- As respondents felt they are currently most accountable to the regulators, however believe they should be most accountable to the public.
- Despite welcome efforts made by the regulators to align their approach on certain issues, respondents maintain that the regulatory framework appears to be disjointed. Regulators are not effectively coordinating their activity and can provide inconsistent messages.
- More frequent ad hoc requests for information from the regulators, often at short notice, can duplicate information provided to other bodies in different forms. This can be time consuming and requires a substantial amount of management resource, diverting attention away from operational issues.