Responding to inadequate care

Page last updated: 12 May 2022
Organisations we regulate

We want to ensure that services found to be providing inadequate care do not continue to do so.

Where a service is repeatedly rated as requires improvement, we will use our power to require a report (improvement action plan) from the provider. The plan must explain what the provider will do to make the improvements needed to achieve a better overall rating.

Services rated as inadequate overall will be placed straight into special measures.

The purpose of special measures is to:

  • ensure that providers found to be providing inadequate care significantly improve
  • provide a framework within which we use our enforcement powers in response to inadequate care and work with, or signpost to, other organisations in the system to ensure improvements are made
  • provide a clear timeframe within which providers must improve the quality of care they provide or we will seek to cancel their registration

Special measures does not replace CQC’s existing enforcement powers: it is likely that we will take enforcement action at the same time as placing a hospital into special measures. And in some cases we may need to take urgent action to protect people who use the service or to bring about improvement, in accordance with our enforcement policy.

We have published detailed guidance (PDF) about our approach to special measures for independent healthcare services.