Warning/Fixed Penalty Notices

The CQC can issue a Warning Notice to NHS Trusts.  This can be on the basis the Trust is deemed to have failed to, or is continuing to fail to, comply with a legal requirement.  NHS Trusts are given the opportunity to make representations about why a Warning Notice should be withdrawn or not be published. Warning Notices are a first step towards the CQC prosecuting a Trust in respect of certain regulations and can be an indication of enforcement action to come.

If representations are not made to a Warning Notice then the Trust will be deemed to have accepted the findings. The CQC has the power to publish information about Warning Notices and it does so routinely.  This can lead to press attention and reputational damage.

The CQC can issue Fixed Penalty Notices where an NHS Trust has failed, amongst other reasons, to comply with relevant legislation. Examples include where a service has failed to comply with the duty of candour or where it has failed to make relevant notifications as per the regulations. Each individual breach can attract a fine of up to £4000, which can escalate.

In respect of Fixed Penalty Notices the CQC has a duty to publish information once the fee has been paid. Again, press interest can lead to reputational damage.

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