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Mental health law briefing 177 – Change of approach to regulation and inspection by the CQC

On 26th March 2012 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) confirmed the changes to regulation and inspection procedures which will come into effect for all inspections after 1st April 2012.

CQC have produced a quick guide explaining the changes but in summary these include:

  • More frequent inspections – CQC are recruiting extra inspectors and envisage inspecting most hospitals, care homes and domiciliary care providers at least once a year.
  • Targeted inspections – CQC inspections will focus on a minimum of 5 standards.
  • Provider compliance assessment – inspections will usually be unannounced and therefore CQC will no longer be asking providers to complete a PCA in advance.
  • More consistent judgments – CQC will now judge a service simply as either compliant or non-compliant with the regulations. They will no longer request improvement actions unless these refer to minor improvements that could be made.
  • Balanced approach – reports will identify non-compliance but will also include a description of what the inspectors have seen, heard and found in order to provide a balanced view of a service.
  • Clear and proportionate enforcement – enforcement action will be taken on a proportionate basis. Where a provider is non-compliant, CQC will decide the level of impact on people who use the service and use this to inform them whether to take compliance action or enforcement action. CQC say they will no longer allow extensions to the timescales given to providers to meet the standards. If a provider fails to respond then CQC would usually escalate the action that they take. Where a warning notice to address non-compliance is issued, a summary of this will be published.

Andrew Parsons
March 2012


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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