CQC Commences Exhaustive Hospital Inspection Regimes In England

17 September 2013

CQC Commences Exhaustive Hospital Inspection Regimes In England

The CQC is implementing a new hospital inspection regime for England, spurned by the Stafford Hospital scandal and the chief inspector has promised to "expose poor and mediocre" care.

Taking a proactive stance towards the horrific findings of the scandal and similar inquiries and reports into appalling NHS case, the CQC will oversee the visits of strengthened inspection teams who will visit Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, in south London, the first of 18 inspections taking place before the end of 2013.

Mike Richards, the new chief inspector of hospitals, is leading the process.

In a contrast to previous teams, these new CQC teams are taking a more robust and intensive approach to their investigations. The inspection teams are larger and more specialised than in the past with approximately 30 people taking part in the Croydon visit, including a surgeon, senior nurses, a student nurse and members of the public.

Supplementing these visits, there will also be public meetings, with the first being held in Croydon this evening.

Each inspection will cover eight key services areas: A&E; medical care; surgery; critical care; maternity; paediatrics; end-of-life care and outpatients and will focus on the patient experience in its entirety.

Ensuring that the care given is true and representative of general systemic care within the individual hospital in question, the inspections will be a mixture of announced and unannounced visits and they will include inspections in the evenings and at weekends.

This is in direct contrast to less stringent inspections in the past which applied greater scrutiny to essentially standardised areas such as infection control as opposed to a wider level of investigation-this is now being replaced by looking at the systems within hospitals as a whole.

Sir Mike said: "These inspections are designed to provide people with a clear picture of the quality of the services in their local hospital, exposing poor or mediocre care as well as highlighting areas of good and excellent care.

"We know there is too much variation in quality in the NHS - these new in-depth inspections will allow us to get a much more detailed picture of care in hospitals than ever before."

The importance of the CQC has now been heightened after increased scrutiny and focus superseded by several critical and overarching inquiries and published documents. For example, the public inquiry into the poor care at Stafford Hospital, published in February, identified failings in the way hospitals are monitored and were supplemented by the Keogh Review in July which led to 11 hospitals being placed in special measures.

Health Minister Norman Lamb said: "Our priority is to make sure that people get better care. That's why we asked the CQC to appoint a new Chief Inspector of Hospitals to shine a spotlight on quality and drive up standards across the board."

The programme of inspections continues on Thursday this week when inspectors go into Airedale NHS Foundation Trust followed by inspections at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust next week.

By the end of 2015 the CQC aims to have inspected all acute hospitals.

Results will be published about a month after each inspection.

If you have experienced any form of medical mistreatment at any NHS trusts or hospitals, or want to better understand exactly what your patient rights are, we are pleased to offer advice and support to you. Our specialists have wide experience of providing advice and support across a number of areas relating to potential medical mistreatment, such as misdiagnosis and delay and surgery errors, for example.