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CQC’s new hospital inspection programme to start tomorrow

16 September 2013
  • Media

16 September 2013

The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) new programme of hospital inspections starts this week, with inspections in London and Yorkshire.

The first inspection will begin tomorrow (Tuesday 17 September) at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust. The second will begin on Thursday 19 September at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

The inspections, under the leadership of CQC’s new Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards involve significantly larger inspection teams than CQC has used in the past. The teams – called inspection panels - will include doctors, nurses and other experts and trained members of the public. They will cover every site that delivers acute services and eight key services areas: A&E; medical care (including frail elderly); surgery; intensive/critical care; maternity; paediatrics/children’s care; end of life care; outpatients.

The inspections will be a mixture of announced and unannounced visits and they will include inspections in the evenings and weekends when we know people can experience poor care. On the evening of the first day of each inspection there will be a ‘listening event’ where local people can tell members of the inspection panel their views of the hospital’s care.

Each inspection will provide the public with a clear picture of the quality of care in their local hospital, exposing poor and mediocre care and highlighting the many hospitals providing good and excellent care. Where there are failures in care, Sir Mike will highlight what needs to be addressed and ask the trusts along with, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority and NHS England to make sure a clear programme is put in place to deal with the problems.

Professor Sir Mike Richards said: "These inspections are designed to provide people with a clear picture of the quality of the services in their local hospital, exposing poor or mediocre care as well as highlighting areas of good and excellent care.

"We know there is too much variation in quality in the NHS – these new in-depth inspections will allow us to get a much more detailed picture of care in hospitals than ever before. Inspections are supported by an improved method for identifying risks and with much more information direct from patients and their families, and hospital staff

“We aim to publish our reports about a month after we have completed the inspections.”

Health Minister Norman Lamb commented: “Our priority is to make sure that people get better care. That’s why we asked the CQC to appoint a new Chief Inspector of Hospitals to shine a spotlight on quality and drive up standards across the board. We also want to showcase the best of the NHS so that all hospitals can learn from this success”.

The programme of inspections continues next week, with inspections at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. In all, 18 NHS trusts will be inspected by the end of the year and by the end of 2015 CQC will have inspected all acute hospitals.

To prepare for the inspections CQC has been bringing together a wide range of data, including information from staff and patient surveys, mortality information, hospital performance information such as waiting times and infection rates. The regulator has also sought the views of other local organisations. These ‘data packs’ will be published with the panel’s report.

Each inspection panel is chaired an external expert. For the first four inspections the chairs are:

  • Croydon: Professor Edward Baker, Medical Director—Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and former Medical Director of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.,
  • Airedale: Dr Jane Barrett, 'clinical oncologist and ex-President of the Royal College of Radiologists
  • Taunton and Somerset: Dr Chris Gordon is Programme Director of QIPP at the NHS Leadership Academy.
  • Royal Wolverhampton: Liz Redfern RN CBE. Liz is currently the Chief Nurse for NHS England (South) and Deputy Chief Nurse for England.

Notes for editors

Sir Mike Richards has identified 18 NHS trusts representing the variation of care in hospitals in England as the first hospitals to test the new inspection regime.  This work will be carried out by the end of the year.

The first 18 NHS trusts to be inspected represent the variation in hospital care.  For at least three of the trusts the Chief Inspector will provide a ‘shadow’rating.

By the end of 2015 CQC will have inspected all NHS acute trusts.  

The variety of trusts selected will help to test CQC’s inspection model, which will be developed and refined this year, alongside the new ratings scheme for hospitals. For hospitals not covered by the new approach, we will complete our inspection programme for 2013-14, focussing on one or a small number of specific services with the hospital that we think are most in need of inspection. 

We will publish the results of all inspections.

The 18 trusts are:

High risk rating

Low risk rating

Variety of risk points

* This review will take account of changes made as a result of the Secretary of State’s decision to dissolve the trust by 1 October 2013.

For media enquiries, call the CQC press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours or out of hours on 07917 232 143.

For general enquiries, call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
30 May 2017