Update on CQC’s regulatory approach

Topics covered: CQC, CQC enforcement, CQC inspection, Gemma Nicholas, inspections, NHS, ofsted

On 24 March 2021 the three Chief Inspectors published a joint statement about the CQC’s future approach. In the statement they outline changes that will take effect from April 2021, and what they mean for providers from all sectors.

The main message from the statement is that the CQC will continue to respond to risk by proactively seeking out and addressing safety and quality concerns with the aim of keeping people safe from harm and protecting their human rights.

The CQC will continue to undertake inspection activity that either “helps create capacity to respond to COVID-19 or that responds to risk of harm to the public”. Inspection activity in each sector is expected to involve:

Adult Social Care:

  • IPC inspections in care homes.
  • Inspection of potential designated sites.
  • Inspecting and re-rating services to create additional capacity in the system.

Hospital Services:

  • Inspecting and rating NHS trusts and independent healthcare services that are rated as inadequate or requires improvement, or where new risks have come to light.
  • Well-led inspections of mental health trusts and independent mental health providers.
  • Focused inspection activity in emergency departments and NHS maternity services where data and local intelligence identifies concerns.

Primary Medical Services

  • Working jointly with Ofsted to deliver multi-agency inspections of children’s services.
  • Resuming inspections of independent primary care providers, focusing on high/medium risk providers that have never been inspected or that were inspected but not rated
  • Resuming inspections of GP, out-of-hours and NHS 111 services – those rated inadequate, requires improvement and good with regulatory breaches and those rated as requires improvement with no breaches of regulations.

As well as setting out inspection activity post April 2021, the statement talks about CQC’s Provider Collaboration Reviews which will continue and their recent paper Protect, respect, connect about DNACPR decisions and practice.


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