Regulatory bodies and commissioners of NHS services do monitor media reports about relevant organisations for which they hold responsibility.
Within the Care Quality Commission’s new approach to inspection, it will be monitoring media reports with those contributing to decisions on when and where to inspect. They are reflected in the data packs the Care Quality Commission uses to focus its inspections. Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority monitor media reports about the organisations they regulate, and this information feeds into their assessment processes and on-going regulation activity. NHS England actively monitors media reports about clinical commissioning groups and providers. The Nursing and Midwifery Council monitors media coverage of potential fitness to practise issues relating to registered nurses and midwives, and opens investigations when serious concerns appear to have been raised. The General Medical Council conducts extensive monitoring of print, online, broadcast and social media as part of its commitment to be proactive in identifying risk to patients and patient care, and it opens investigations when there appears to be a serious concern.
Since April 2013, NHS England has rolled out quality surveillance groups across England. These groups actively share among commissioners, regulators and other organisations information and intelligence on the quality of care being delivered, including issues and cases of media and public interest. The National Quality Board is currently conducting a review of how the quality surveillance group network is operating, and what support it needs to be as effective as possible. It will publish revised guidance and support materials by the end of the 2013 to support all quality surveillance groups to reach their full potential.
The Care Quality Commission uses some media monitoring information in its acute inspection planning and its provider relationship teams are alerted to media stories about providers locally. The Care Quality Commission is now reviewing its approach to determine how it will use this source of intelligence in the future.