A CARE watchdog is carrying out a rapid review of how North-East health and social care providers have worked together during the pandemic.

The Care Quality Commission review is aimed at helping providers by sharing learning, helping to drive improvements and prepare for future pressures.

The first phase of reviews will take place between July and August in 11 areas, including the North-East and North Cumbria.

Rosie Benneyworth, chief inspector of primary medical services and integrated care said: “The speed and scale of the response required by the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the benefits to services and the people who use them of creativity and innovation through collaborative approaches.

"Responses to the pandemic have offered opportunities for partnership working, ensuring shared efforts to avoid fragmentation and drive best experiences and outcomes for those accessing care within the system."

“These reviews will help identify where provider collaboration has worked well to the benefit of people who use services. Sharing that learning will help drive further improvements across systems.”

The CQC’s ambition is to look at provider collaboration in all areas.

The first phase, between July and August will see reviews in:

• Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes ICS

• Norfolk and Waveney STP

• The Black Country and West Birmingham STP

• Lincolnshire STP

• North East and North Cumbria STP

• Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria STP

• Frimley Health and Care STP

• Sussex Health and Care Partnership STP;

• North West London STP

• One Gloucestershire ICS

• Devon STP

These reviews will involve understanding the journey for people with and without coronavirus across health and social care providers. They will focus on the interface between health and adult social care for the over-65 population group.

Review teams will feedback findings to areas following each review to help them plan ahead. Themes from the 11 reviews will be reported in September in CQC’s Covid Insight report and State of Care in October.

Saffron Cordery, Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Providers, said: “We welcome this approach. It is good to see CQC adapting to reflect the changing environment and piloting different means of working with providers and their partners.

“One of the great achievements by trusts in response to Covid-19 was the way that they and their partners quickly developed new approaches, collaborating to confront the greatest challenge in the history of the NHS.

“We look forward to seeing details of how this has been done, and the lessons to be drawn from these initiatives to support more collaboration, and the CQC’s approach to regulation, in the future.”

The National Care Forum said: “We welcome this programme of rapid reviews by the CQC, looking at how local systems have responded to support care providers during the Covid crisis. The experience of our members on the frontline in the fight against Covid within the care sector has shown a variety of responses from local systems, some very collaborative and supportive and some less so. We welcome the opportunity for a strong care provider voice within these reviews as we reflect collectively on the very difficult past few months of the crisis.

“It is absolutely essential that we learn what has worked well within the local care and health system, for care providers and the very vulnerable people they serve, and what has not worked so well, so that we are better equipped to work together in the event of any second wave. It will also enable a valuable local lens on the role that national policy making and guidance has played at a local level.”