COMMISSION News Release (PR 09) issued by COI News Distribution
Service on 31 March 2009
The Care Quality
Commission has published details of the tough new enforcement
powers that will help it protect the health, safety and welfare of
people who use health and adult social care services, and to
improve the quality of these services.
The new regulator of health, mental health and adult social care
will be able to draw on a wider range of powers than its
predecessor regulators to help it achieve its aim of being a tough
but fair regulator. CQC has new powers to issue warning notices
and penalty notices and in extreme circumstances to suspend or
cancel the registration of organisations who do not meet essential
standards of quality.
CQC's enforcement policy has been widely consulted on. The
overwhelming majority of those who took part in the consultation
agreed with CQC's overall approach to enforcement.
CQC's approach will be that any action it takes will be
proportionate to the risks posed; it aims to be consistent in
applying the principles across all types of health and adult
social care; and it will be transparent, making sure that
providers of services, managers and the public understand what is
expected of people who run services and what they should expect
The new regulator also promises to coordinate its work with other
regulators and to follow up any enforcement work in a timely fashion.
CQC Chief Executive Cynthia Bower said: "The ultimate
purpose of enforcement is to bring about improvements for people
who use services. We intend to take a firm but fair approach to
enforcement and when we take enforcement action we will always
follow up that action to make sure that improvements are made.
"While we will be using a common set of principles for
enforcement, we accept that different approaches are needed in
Alongside the policy, CQC has set out nine priority actions that
address points made as part of the consultation. These
* ensuring that there is a consistent approach to the
implementation of the policy across different parts of the country
and across different sectors
* ensuring CQC encourages
improvement across sectors, rather than focusing exclusively on
responding to failure
* ensuring that the experience and needs
of service users are given particular emphasis in enforcement
* clarifying how CQC will follow up enforcement action.
Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, the Care Quality
Commission has a number of new enforcement powers to deal with
underperforming services - to inspect and investigate, to issue a
statutory warning notice, to issue a financial penalty notice in
lieu of prosecution and, in the most serious cases, to prosecute
or suspend registration. In the most serious cases, the Commission
can prosecute or cancel registration.
If we take enforcement action against an NHS provider over
healthcare associated infection during 2009/10, we will use the
powers in the Health and Social Care Act 2008. For all other
purposes, during 2009/10 we will use the same powers and
enforcement frameworks that the Healthcare Commission and the
Commission for Social Care Inspection use now. From 2010 the full
range of enforcement powers under the 2008 Act will be extended to
all registered health and adult social care providers.
CQC's approach will focus on those providers whose
activities cause, or risk causing, serious harm to people using
services. We will act in the best interests of people who use
services and their families and carers, balancing the consequences
for these people of taking enforcement action, against the risk of
taking no action.
Notes for editors
1.The Care Quality Commission was
established by the Health and Social Care Act 2008 to regulate the
quality of health and adult social care and look after the
interests of people detained under the Mental Health Act. It will
bring together the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the
Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission. The
Care Quality Commission became a legal entity on 1 October 2008
and takes up its responsibilities for the quality of health and
adult social care on 1 April 2009.
2. The Enforcement Policy, priorities for action and details of
consultation responses will be available on the CQC web site http://www.cqc.org.uk
3. For further information, please contact Alan Pickstock on 020
7633 4138 or Jill Morrell on 020 7633 4163. From Wednesday 1 April
please call 020 7448 9401.