CQC: Inspecting and Regulating Mental Health Services

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

CQC is set to change the way they inspect and regulate mental health services and are putting a greater emphasis on inspecting the care that people with mental health problems receive in the community.

The changes proposed are outlined in the document ‘A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of mental health services.’

Main Changes

The main changes to CQC’s inspection approach are as follows:

  • Mental health specialists will be included on all inspections of mental health services which will bring together CQC’s work under the Mental Health Act and how they regulate mental health services
  • Inspection teams will be made up of specialist inspectors. This includes experts by experience and professional experts
  • CQC inspectors will rate mental health services as one of the following:

– Outstanding

– Good

– Requires improvement

– Inadequate

  • Inspectors will engage with service users, their carers and families, during inspections and at other times in new ways
  • CQC will ensure they have better information about mental health services and develop their intelligent monitoring system for these services
  • CQC will look at how people are cared for as they move between services
  • CQC will recognise that mental health treatment and support is part of services in all sectors

Putting the changes into practice

CQC will pilot their new inspection approach with the NHS, with the aim of expanding this to other specialist mental health providers including the independent sector.

The five trusts that will take part in the first wave of the pilot are:

  • Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust
  • Devon Partnership Trust
  • Dudley & Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
  • South West London & St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust
  • Solent NHS Trust

CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards said that, “the needs of people with mental health problems run through all the areas that CQC regulates and we have recognised that we need to strengthen our approach to regulating specialist mental health services to ensure that people get care that is safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well led. I regard this as every bit as important as the changes I am making to the way we regulate acute hospitals. Our new approach will bring together both strands of CQC’s work in relation to mental health – our work under the Mental Health Act and how we regulate mental health services. I am appointing a Deputy Chief Inspector for Mental Health who will work with me, leading expert inspection teams who will spend more time listening to people who use services, carers and staff.”


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