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When we will inspect urgent care services

  • Organisations we regulate

Frequency of inspections

For services that we rate

We will use the previous rating of your NHS 111, GP out-of-hours or urgent care service to determine when to inspect again. The maximum intervals for re-inspecting services depend on your rating as follows:

Previous overall rating Maximum interval between inspection
Inadequate Six months
Requires improvement 12 months
Good or outstanding Five years

These maximum intervals reflect the commitment we made in CQC’s strategy to deliver an intelligence-driven approach to regulation.

Every year, we will inspect a proportion of services that are rated as good or outstanding. This is to make sure that they are all inspected at least once every five years. We may also inspect any service at any time, irrespective of rating, for example when:

  • our monitoring information indicates a potential improvement or deterioration in the quality of care
  • a provider is part of a larger or complex provider, and we have decided to carry out a coordinated inspection alongside our hospital and adult social care inspectors
  • we are undertaking a review of care services in a local area.

Announcing inspections

Inspections are usually announced. We feel that this is the most appropriate way to make sure our inspections do not disrupt the care you provide.

When we announce inspections, we will usually give you a minimum of two weeks’ notice. The inspector will telephone you to announce the inspection and also send a letter to confirm the date.

Throughout the inspection process, the lead inspector will support and communicate with you by letter, email and telephone to help you to prepare for the day and know what to expect.

Unannounced inspections

We may also carry out an unannounced inspection, for example if we are responding to a particular issue or concern. This may be something identified at a previous inspection that we are following up, or new information.

At the start of these visits, the inspection team will meet with a member of your management team, and will feed back at the end of the inspection if there are any immediate concerns.

Last updated:
20 October 2020