The CQC is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. They ensure that health and social services provide people with safe, effective and high quality care.
Before care providers are even able to provide any services, they must be registered with the CQC and be able to meet a number of legal requirements and standards. The organisation regulates treatment, care and support provided by: hospitals, care homes, GP practices, dental practices, home care agencies and ambulance services.
Once an organisation is registered with the CQC, they are continuously monitored. The information gathered through this monitoring helps them to decide when, where and what to inspect. Inspections cover 5 key questions:
  • Is it safe?
  • Is it effective?
  • Is it caring?
  • Is it responsive?
  • Is it well led?
The CQC also publish information on the quality of services, including reports and ratings. This is a guideline which may help people choose their care provider. The report outlines findings based on the 5 key questions. Good practices and any concerns are also described. A rating system is used to help determine how good each service and this must be on public display.
A service can be graded as outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate. If care services are deemed to be failing to meet the fundamental standards then the CQC will take action to ensure that no harm is done and the services improve.
Actions taken are fully dependent on how serious the problems identified are and how big an impact they have on the service users. Possible actions are:
  • Give care providers improvements to make within a set time limit
  • Issue cautions, fines or even prosecuting cases
  • Limit what a care provider can do for a set time
  • Place a care provider in ‘special measures’ which gives them a clear timetable within which they must improve the quality of care they provide or further action may be taken (may lose their registration)