Your ratings: primary medical services

Page last updated: 12 May 2022
Organisations we regulate

We will rate your service for the quality of care overall and for our five key questions: Is the service safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led?

We award ratings on a four-point scale: outstanding, good, requires improvement, or inadequate.

It is a legal requirement to display your ratings. If you have an overall rating of good or outstanding, you may like to promote this.

We decide all ratings using a combination of aggregating the key question ratings and the professional judgement of inspection teams. We provide ratings at different levels and we use a set of ratings principles to help us to determine the final ratings.

Ratings characteristics

Your rating is based on our assessment of the evidence we gather against the key lines of enquiry in the assessment framework for health care services. Inspectors refer to the corresponding ratings characteristics for the key lines of enquiry and use their professional judgement to decide on the rating.

When deciding on a rating, the inspection team asks:

  • Does the evidence demonstrate a potential rating of good?
  • If yes – does it exceed the standard of good and could it be outstanding?
  • If no – does it reflect the characteristics of requires improvement or inadequate?

A provider doesn’t have to demonstrate every characteristic of a rating for us to give that rating. Inspection teams use the ratings characteristics as a guide, not as a checklist or an exhaustive list. They consider best practice and recognised guidelines, and assure consistency through CQC’s quality control process.

For example, if you demonstrate just one of the characteristics of inadequate but this has a significant impact on the quality of care or on people’s experience, this could lead to a rating of inadequate. On the other hand, even providers rated as outstanding are likely to have areas where they could improve. In the same way, you don’t need to demonstrate every one of the characteristics of good to be rated as good.