Request a rating review: NHS trusts

Page last updated: 12 May 2022
Organisations we regulate

Grounds for review

The only grounds for requesting a rating review after the completion of the factual accuracy process and publication are that we have failed to follow our process for making ratings decisions.

Trust cannot ask for a review of their ratings on the basis that they disagree with our judgements.

Any request for a review must relate solely to the trust's latest final inspection report. We can’t consider references to previous reports or those for other providers.

How to request a review of ratings

All rating review requests must be submitted using our online form by one of:

  • the registered manager
  • the nominated individual
  • the chief executive (NHS trusts only).

Trusts must submit the request within 15 working days of the publication of the report. Trusts can only submit one request for an inspection report.

The link to the online form is included in the letter we send with the final report.

The review process

We will first consider whether the request meets the grounds for review.

If it does not meet these grounds then we’ll refuse the request and write to the trust to explain why.

If it does meet the grounds, CQC staff not involved in the original inspection will review the aspects of the process that were not followed correctly.

As well as our own staff, we may use independent reviewers if their expertise is relevant to the request.

Our review may extend to ratings that were not challenged. All ratings can go down as well as up as a result of a review.

During the review, we will display a message on the relevant profile page on our website to show it is taking place. The report will remain published on the website.

Reviewing the use of resources rating

NHS trusts may also request a review of the use of resources rating. The request for a review should be submitted using the online form, within 15 working days of publication of the report. The standard grounds for review described above apply to these ratings.

Where the request for a rating review relates to the use of resources rating, CQC will work with NHS Improvement using a process consistent with CQC’s wider rating review processes.

The request for a review will be handled by members of NHS Improvement staff who were not involved in the original use of resources assessment, and they will have access to an independent reviewer.

Complaints and appeals

If a trust is making a complaint against us or challenging our enforcement action, we will pause the review until these are complete.

We will let the trust know when we start to consider the request – this is usually once the complaint or challenge is complete (including any appeal to the First-tier Tribunal).

The review decision

Where the grounds for a rating review are met, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals makes the final decision about each rating review.

Once the review is complete, we’ll let the trust know the outcome. We aim to complete all reviews within 50 working days.

We’ll make the appropriate changes to the trust's report and ratings as a result of the review on our website as soon as possible.

The review is the final CQC process for challenging a rating. However, trusts can challenge the ratings elsewhere, such as by applying for a judicial review.