What is the role of the Care Quality Commission?
Undoubtedly, the UK's health and social care sectors are among the most heavily regulated worldwide. A legal duty of care is placed on service providers by law as they provide services to the public.
In this article, Dr Richard Dune presents an overview of the role and responsibilities of the Care Quality Commission (CQC). In addition, he will describe the services that are regulated by the CQC, including those that require cross-sector inspections.
What is the role of the Care Quality Commission?
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is England's independent regulator of health and social care services. It was established in 2009 as a non-departmental public executive body sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care.
Its primary mandate is to ensure the quality and safety of care services in hospitals, dentists, ambulances, and care homes and the care given in people's homes.
The CQC is responsible for the following:
- Registering health and care providers in England
- Inspecting, rating, and monitoring the quality of health and social care services
- Ensuring that people who use services are protected
- Contributing to the debate on major issues of quality in health and social care with an independent voice.
Extended role of the CQC
As part of their work, CQC also:
- Ensures that the rights of vulnerable individuals, including those subject to restrictions under the Mental Health Act, are protected
- Pays attention to what people say about health and social care services and takes appropriate action
- Engages the public and those receiving care in the process
- Collaborates with other organisations and public groups.
History of the CQC
The CQC was founded in 2009, following the dissolution of the following three predecessor organisations:
- The Healthcare Commission
- The Commission for Social Care Inspection
- The Mental Health Act Commission.
The Healthcare Commission and Commission for Social Care Inspection regulated health and adult social care in England until 31 March 2009, while the Mental Health Act Commission monitored the operation of the Mental Health Act 1983.
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 established the CQC as a single, integrated regulator for England's health and adult social care services. An interim commission was established on 1 October 2008 and commenced operations on 1 April 2009.
What is the purpose of CQC?
As a regulator of health and social care services, the CQC ensures that people receive safe, effective, compassionate, and high-quality care. It encourages service providers to improve their services as necessary.
In addition to conducting checks during the registration process for all new care services, the CQC also monitors a wide variety of data sources that may indicate problems in the service. One of the commission's responsibilities is to protect the interests of people whose rights have been restricted under the Mental Health Act.
What are the CQC core values?
The four values of the CQC are:
- Excellence - Being a high-performing organisation is the hallmark of excellence
- Caring - Respect and dignity are integral components of caring for others
- Integrity - Doing the right thing every time is what integrity is all about
- Teamwork - As a team, we must learn from each other to be the best we can be.
Which type of services does CQC regulate?
CQC regulates the following health and social care services in England:
- Ambulances - Both NHS and independent ambulance services
- Care homes - Residential and nursing homes
- Healthcare clinics - Including family planning and slimming clinics
- Services in the community - Community-based services, such as those for people with learning disabilities and those for substance abuse
- Dental services - NHS and independent dental services
- GPs and primary care doctors - GP practices, walk-in centres, and out-of-hours services
- Hospices - Hospices that provide care to patients with life-limiting conditions or near death
- Hospitals - Both NHS trusts and independent hospitals
- Mental health - NHS and independent mental health services for detained patients
- Services in your home - Including home care agencies, mobile doctors, and telephone-based services.
The CQC sometimes conducts joint inspections of services with other inspectorates, including system-wide inspections. A system inspection aims to assess a group of services in a local area. This way, CQC can examine how individual services are integrated to provide care across the entire system.
Cross-sector inspections carried out by CQC, and other inspectorates include:
- Children's services - All health services for children with the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) and service commissioners
- Defence medical services - Defence medical treatment facilities in conjunction with the Defence Medical Services Regulator (DMSR)
- Secure settings - Joint inspections with the HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) and other authorities
- Urgent and emergency care systems - Localised system-wide inspections across urgent and emergency care services.
The CQC monitors, inspects, and regulates services and publishes its findings. CQC will use its powers to take action if they find that poor care has been provided.
CQC-regulated services include:
- Hospitals, general practitioners, dentists, ambulances, and mental health professionals who provide health care services
- Organisations that provide personal and nursing care to adults in care homes and at their homes
- A range of health and social services for people whose rights have been restricted by the Mental Health Act.
Click here to see online courses and resources to help you and your organisation prepare for a CQC inspection.
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About Dr Richard Dune
Dr Richard Dune is a leading health and social care governance expert. Throughout his career, he has worked in various settings across the UK, including NHS Trusts, research and development, academic institutions, and private companies.
His work primarily focuses on developing, deploying and evaluating technologies, such as clinical decision support systems, educational technologies, workforce development and regulatory compliance solutions.
Dr Dune regularly writes about topical issues affecting the UK's health and social care sectors. Additionally, he speaks at conferences, stakeholder workshops, and professional forums. Dr Dune is also a research fellow at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire in the Research, Development and Innovation department. His other passions include content development, education, and coaching. Click here to read more articles by Dr Dune.
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