The Department of Health has confirmed that it will grant the Care Quality Commission (CQC) the power to rate even more healthcare services, such as online GPs.

The CQC already rates NHS and independent hospitals, general practices and adult social care services as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate.

However, once amendments to the CQC (Reviews and Performance Assessments) Regulations are made, from April 2018, their powers will be broadened to include these providers. This will be include independent healthcare providers such as online GPs, cosmetic surgeries, independent ambulance services, termination of pregnancy clinics, substance misuse centres and more generally those that offer medical advice and provide prescriptions.

Another public consultation will be launched in early January 2018 to develop an approach for how the CQC will rate these additional services.

According to the consultation papers, the intention behind increasing the CQC’s powers to provide ratings to additional bodies is so that the public have increased transparency about the quality and safety of their healthcare. It is also intended that ‘ratings will drive greater competition between providers and ultimately result in the delivery of better quality of care and a more responsive service for the public’.

Sir David Behan, Chief Executive of the CQC has said:

“The CQC’s ratings of health and care services are helping people to make informed choices about their care as well as supporting providers to improve –  never before has the public had such clear information about the quality and safety of their health and care services.

The Government have also discussed longer-term proposals to extend the CQC’s powers to even more services in the future.