Notifications: guidance for providers

Page last updated: 11 March 2024

Providers must notify us about certain changes, events and incidents that affect their service or the people who use it.

The regulations state what a provider must notify us about when there is a change, event or incident in a service. See the complete list of notifications. For each one, there is a description and a link to the relevant regulation. These are called statutory notifications.

It is an offence not to notify us when a relevant change, event or incident has happened

The regulations also state the timescales within which we must be notified. These depend on the type of notification. We state the timescale on the webpage for each individual notification.

We use information from notifications to:

  • be aware of what is happening in a service
  • identify issues of concern
  • inform whether we need to take regulatory action
  • monitor trends across health and care

How to notify us

You must use our forms to make a notification. There is a specific form for each different type of notification. These explain all the information you need to tell us about.

You can notify us about the most common changes, events or incidents in your service using our new portal for providers. 

For some other notifications you need to use a specific Word form which you download, complete and email back to us. We update these forms often so you must use the latest version from this website.

On each individual web page for a notification we explain the different options you can use to make that notification. Where you can notify us using the portal, we also provide a Word form that you can use instead.

If you use our portal, this automatically gives a reference number to each form you submit. If you use a Word form, we will send you an email acknowledgement with a reference number for your notification.

If you need to give us more information about a notification you have submitted, quote the reference number for the notification in your correspondence.

NHS trusts only

NHS trusts and NHS Blood and Transplant can submit some notifications to the National Health Service Commissioning Board. This means that incidents NHS trusts submit to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS), or its successor Learn from Patient Safety Events (LFPSE), do not need to be directly notified to CQC. These notifications are then forwarded to us through an information sharing agreement.

If you use NRLS or LFPSE, you can notify us about 4 types of notification:

  • allegation of abuse
  • death of a person using the service
  • events that stop a service running safely and properly
  • serious injury to a person using the service

NHS trusts and NHS Blood and Transplant must submit all other types of notification directly to us.

Who should notify us

The regulations say that the ‘registered person’ must submit notifications to us. Registered persons are:

  • organisations, partnerships or individuals registered to provide regulated activities
  • any managers the provider employs who are registered for the regulated activity.

As a registered person, you can delegate this task. But you are still responsible and accountable for making sure notifications are submitted correctly. So you must have clear and effective delegation arrangements.

In NHS organisations, local risk management system administrators have authority to submit reports to NHS England.

Notifications about people who are using a health or care service

When you make a statutory notification about an event or incident, we ask for details about a person who has been affected. In most cases, you do not need to identify them. Instead, you need to use a unique identifier or code so you protect privacy and minimise the sharing of personal data. This is in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Do not use the person’s name, date of birth or other unique detail, such as their NHS number or room number in the notification. If you allocate a unique identifier or code to a person in a notification you must keep information about who this refers to safely and securely.

The exception is for a notification of the death of a person who is detained under the Mental Health Act 1983. In this case, you must identify the person using their name and date of birth. This is so the coroner can give us information about the cause of death. See how we handle information about people who use services and members of the public.

Protected equality characteristics

We must monitor and report on how well services are meeting people’s diverse needs.

Our forms ask about a person’s protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 using the ‘equality strands’ that government recognises.

Other reporting

You must notify us about any of the changes, events or incidents in the complete list of notifications. There are some things that you may not need to notify us about, or you may need to report to different organisations. These are:

  • Medicine errors: only notify us if a medicines error causes one of these notifiable events:

    • allegation of abuse
    • death of a person using the service
    • incident reported to or investigated by the police
    • serious injury to a person using the service

    In this case, make it clear in the notification that a medicine error was a known or possible cause or effect.

  • Outbreaks of infection: see notifiable diseases and causative organisms: how to report (GOV.UK).
  • Patient safety incidents (for NHS providers): you do not need to notify CQC separately if you have already notified NHS England through NRLS or LFPSE.

How to notify us