Care Quality Commission
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Chief Inspector of Hospitals announces inspection plans

CQC’s new Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards is introducing radical changes to the way hospitals in England are inspected. Following on from the review carried out by Bruce Keogh, the changes will begin next month.

Sir Mike says he will lead significantly bigger inspection teams headed up by clinical and other experts that include trained members of the public. They will spend longer inspecting hospitals and cover every site that delivers acute services and eight key services areas: A&E; maternity, paediatrics; acute medical and surgical pathways; care for the frail elderly; end of life care; and outpatients.

The inspections will be a mixture of unannounced and announced and they will include inspections in the evenings and weekends when we know people can experience poor care.

Each inspection will provide the public with a clear picture of the quality of care in their local hospital, exposing poor and mediocre care and highlighting the many hospitals providing good and excellent care. Sir Mike will decide whether hospitals are to be rated as outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate. Where there are failures in care, Sir Mike will highlight what needs to be addressed and ask the trusts along with, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority and NHS England to make sure a clear programme is put in place to deal with the problems.

Professor Sir Mike Richards said: “As Chief Inspector of Hospitals, I need to know and to be completely open about where good and bad care is being delivered.  That is why I am publishing my first wave of inspections today. There is too much variation in the quality of care patients receive - poor hospitals will need to up their game and learn from the best. I will not tolerate poor or mediocre care".

“These new-style inspections will allow us to get a much more detailed picture of care in hospitals than has ever been possible before in England. Inspections will be supported by an improved method for identifying risks and with much more information direct from patients and their families, and hospital staff.

“Today I am issuing a call to action for clinicians and members of the public to join our inspection teams. We welcome people with a wide range of experience and expertise.”

Sir Mike has identified 18 NHS trusts representing the variation of care in hospitals in England. These will be the first hospitals to test the new inspection regime.  This work will be carried out over the next five months.

The first 18 NHS trusts to be inspected represent the variation in hospital care.  For at least three of the trusts the Chief Inspector will provide a ‘shadow’rating.

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

The variety of trusts selected will help to test CQC’s inspection model, which will be developed and refined this year, alongside the new ratings scheme for hospitals. For hospitals not covered by the new approach, we will complete our inspection programme for 2013-14, focussing on one or a small number of specific services with the hospital that we think are most in need of inspection. 

We will publish the results of all inspections.

The 18 trusts are:

High risk

  • Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Barts Health NHS Trust
  • Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
  • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • South London Healthcare NHS Trust
  • The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Low risk rating

  • Airedale NHS Foundation Trust
  • Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust
  • Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
  • Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Variety of risk points in between

  • Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust
  • Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
  • Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust
  • The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

For media enquiries, call the CQC press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours or out of hours on 07917 232 143. For general enquiries, call 03000 61 61 61.

Note to editors

People who would like to respond to Sir Mike Richard’s call to action should email him at cqcinspectionchanges@cqc.org.uk.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care. 


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