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When we will inspect NHS trusts

  • Organisations we regulate

We inspected each trust at least once between June 2017 and summer 2019 using our current approach, and approximately annually after that.

However we may come back any time in the year if we think it is necessary. Our contact with each trust will be frequent and targeted. We will use information from our relationship management meetings and CQC Insight to inform our discussion about when and what to inspect.

Frequency of inspections of core services and the well-led key question

We will inspect the well-led key question for a trust approximately annually. We will use athe trust’s previous ratings and the latest information we have about it to decide which services to inspect alongside this inspection.

Core services will be inspected at the following maximum intervals:

Previous overall rating Maximum interval between inspection
Outstanding Normally within five years of publishing the last core service inspection report
Good Normally within three and a half years of publishing the last core service inspection report
Requires improvement Normally within two years of publishing the last core service inspection report
Inadequate Normally within one year of publishing the last core service inspection report

We will take into account the trust’s own assessment of the quality of its core services. If the trust tells us that services have improved, we will inspect them wherever we can.

Use of resources assessments

CQC and NHS Improvement regularly share information about providers and we will agree the most appropriate timing for NHS Improvement to carry out a use of resources assessment for each non-specialist NHS acute trust alongside our scheduled inspections. From mid-2018, all these trusts will receive an assessment of how efficiently and sustainably they are using their resources before CQC carries out our first regular scheduled inspection of the well-led key question for that trust.

Before then (when CQC and NHS Improvement’s schedules are fully aligned), some non-specialist acute trusts that have a first scheduled trust-level inspection of the well-led question will not have a use of resources assessment from NHS Improvement. CQC and NHS Improvement will prioritise these trusts for future inspection and assessment.

See the section on use of resources for more information.

Last updated:
21 October 2020