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NHS: Standards

Question for Department of Health

UIN 222655, tabled on 29 January 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what his assessment is of the contribution made by (a) the Care Quality Commission and (b) Monitor to (i) safeguarding and (ii) raising standards in healthcare.

Answered on

3 February 2015

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care providers in England and has a key responsibility in the overall assurance of safety and quality of health and adult social care services.

The CQC has provided the following information about its contribution to safeguarding:

The CQC receives information that may relate to safeguarding from various sources, both professional and public. All concerns are relayed through the CQC’s National Customer Service Centre. The specialist team triage the information to identify whether this is information already known to a local authority or not, and if not CQC ensure an alert is made. All information relating to safeguarding concerns or alerts involving regulated services are sent directly to the appropriate inspection teams. Where the information indicates a serious concern, an unannounced inspection would be triggered. Depending on the outcome of that inspection, enforcement action could be taken against the provider.

The CQC also use safeguarding information it collects to inform key publications. In the State of Care 2013-14 Report, the CQC used the information it holds on safety and safeguarding to highlight poor practice and signal where improvement is required from each of the sectors the CQC regulates.

Monitor is the sector regulator for health services in England and its main duty is to protect and promote the interests of patients. Monitor is responsible for promoting the provision of health care services which is effective, efficient and which maintains or improves the quality of services.

Monitor is also responsible for ensuring that foundation trusts (FTs) are run well so they can continue delivering good quality services for patients. To do this they work closely with the CQC, the quality and safety regulator. When the CQC establishes that an FT is failing to provide good quality care, Monitor can take action to address the problem.

The licencing regime, introduced in the Health and Social Care Act is Monitor’s main tool for regulating providers of NHS services (unless exempt under section 83 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012) and gives it a means to carry out its responsibilities as sector regulator.

FTs are expected to carry out external reviews of their governance every three years. Monitor provides guidance on this and sets out that the provision of safe, high quality, compassionate care should be a top priority for all FTs.

FTs must also have regard to the NHS Constitution and, as autonomous organisations, are expected to adhere to regulations required of them by government.

Monitor also meet with Ministers at the Department of Health on a quarterly basis to assess all aspects of their performance.

Named day
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