Intended for healthcare professionals


Clinician engagement determines care quality and patient satisfaction, says CQC chair

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 14 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2179
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. 1BMJ Careers

Engagement of clinicians can help improve satisfaction among patients and the quality of care delivered in an organisation, the chairman of the Care Quality Commission has said.

The CQC began a new type of hospital inspection in January this year, using larger inspection teams that include clinical staff and trained members of the public. The inspections will focus on 19 acute trusts and will award CQC ratings for the first time. Two key indicators measured by the CQC are clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Speaking at a conference held by the Westminster Health Forum in London on 13 March, David Prior, the CQC’s chairman, said, “We measure high quality care and outcomes, that’s very important, but we also look at patient and resident satisfaction. But both of those things are actually determined by clinicians and particularly medical engagement.”

He said that confidential focus groups involving doctors and nurses, conducted as part of the CQC’s inspection process, were an effective way to determine levels of staff engagement. “You can tell on those occasions where there is a high level of clinical engagement, and the defining indicator for me as to what determines a great hospital is that level of clinical engagement,” Prior said.

He said that good clinical engagement was a clear indicator of strong leadership in an organisation. “[In] the great hospital chains in America, the one thing that they are measuring every month is the level of colleague engagement and the level of clinical engagement. It is absolutely fundamental, so whether or not a service is well led is a fundamental part of our inspection process and a fundamental determinant of whether or not a hospital is outstanding,” he said.

Prior said that failing hospitals could be helped to improve by learning from their more successful counterparts. He said that in England around 30 hospitals were believed to be performing poorly. Of these, the bottom five had undergone 61 changes of management in the past two years.

He said, “I’ve come to the view that we have got some outstanding trusts in England, we have some world class hospitals, and we’ve got world class management teams and great clinicians involved at senior levels. Why don’t we let them take on these poorly performing hospitals? There’s always the risk of overstretch. But actually they have got the track record; they know how it’s done.”

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