CQC inspection changes underway

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is starting to introduce improvements to the way it inspects health and social care services. The changes follow a consultation by CQC on how it regulates.

The changes, which will be phased in, mean that CQC will inspect most services more often. It will inspect most hospitals, care homes and domiciliary care providers at least once a year. It will inspect dental and other services at least once every two years.

The regulator will continue to re-inspect those services that fail to meet the government standards and will inspect any service at any time if there are concerns about poor care.

Most inspections will continue to be unannounced. To help do this, CQC is recruiting extra inspectors. This means that inspectors will be responsible for a smaller number of services than in the past. They will be able to spend more time getting to know the services, checking the information they have on each, and responding quickly to concerns about the quality of care. Inspectors will be able to spend more time inspecting and less time on paperwork.

CQC inspectors have continual oversight of all 16 government standards. Under the new system, inspections for most types of service will focus on a minimum of five, one from each of five ‘chapter headings’ in CQC’s Guidance about Compliance. Which standards they inspect will be tailored to the type of care provided and the information CQC currently has about the service, including the concerns that people have told them about. Inspectors will be able to focus their time and resources on services that are at higher risk of delivering poor care.

The CQC will judge whether or not providers are meeting the standards. They will focus on where providers are not meeting the standards but include positive findings where they see them.

Experts in different aspects of care often join CQC inspections, including members of the public who have experience of care. The CQC plan to make more use of experts in the future.

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