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CQC seeks views on its new approach to regulating dental, independent healthcare and ambulance services

28 November 2014
  • Media,
  • Ambulance services,
  • Dental service,
  • Hospitals

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is asking people who run and use health and care services for views on the regulator’s plans for inspecting primary care dental services, and inspecting and rating ambulance and independent healthcare services.

Following the earlier roll-out of CQC’s new inspection approach for general practice, out-of-hours GP services, adult social care and in NHS acute hospitals, three consultations are launched today (Friday 28 November) to seek views on CQC’s plans for inspecting dental, ambulance and independent healthcare services.

CQC Chief Executive David Behan said:

"We have been carrying out new style of inspections in hospitals, mental health and community health services, adult social care services and GP practices over the past year.

“Now we are setting out the changes we are proposing to make to the way we regulate dental services, ambulance services and independent healthcare services that will help us to make sure that they provide safe, high-quality care.

“We want to hear what professionals, clinicians and members of the public think of these proposals."

Due to the view that people using primary care dental services are less likely to experience poor care, CQC proposes to inspect 10% of providers using random and risk-based inspections as well as inspecting in response to concerns. CQC does not intend to rate primary care dental services in 2015/16.

The consultation asks for views on these elements of the new approach and if people think that the approach will help dental practices to improve, for example by reporting on good practice.

We propose to divide the independent acute healthcare sector into three distinct groups which are ‘hospitals’, ‘single-specialty services’ and ‘non-hospital acute services’.

The approach we are proposing for the hospitals group closely follows the model we are using for NHS acute trust hospitals, with some modifications to take account of the differences between them.

We are proposing other, tailored approaches for the single-specialty services and non-hospital acute services. We are asking whether the sector agrees with these approaches.

We are also asking for views on whether special measures should be introduced into the independent healthcare sector and whether there should be a rating at corporate provider level for independent healthcare providers.

For ambulance providers (both NHS and independent services) we will also take a similar approach to that of acute services to check if the services are safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well-led. This will help us to give NHS ambulances a rating of either outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

We outline our plans to inspect the following “core” services during our inspections of ambulance services. These are:

  • Emergency and Urgent Care Services
  • Patient Transport Services
  • Emergency Operations Centre
  • Resilience Planning

We are asking if ambulance providers agree with this approach.

All three consultations run until 23 January 2015. You can take part on our website or using #tellcqc.

All of the consultation documents are available here.

Last updated:
30 May 2017

Notes to editors

  • All primary dental care providers registered with CQC (approximately 10,000 practices) must meet the regulations. From April 2015 to March 2016, we intend to inspect 10% of this number, using random and risk-based inspections as well as inspecting in response to concerns.
  • We will be testing our proposed dental approach in wave inspections starting from December. If a practice is part of this process, our inspectors will contact them two weeks in advance of the actual inspection.
  • Independent healthcare includes:
    • All independent acute hospitals, whether corporately-owned or stand-alone, including NHS treatment centres and private patient units located within an NHS acute or specialty trust, where these are run and managed by an independent provider
    • All locations in which cosmetic surgery is undertaken 
    • All single-speciality healthcare services, and
    • All non-hospital acute healthcare services that don’t fall into any of the above categories.
  • The three categories of independent healthcare are:
    • Acute hospitals: This group includes independent acute hospitals, those which are owned by a corporate company or stand-alone hospital. They provide ‘traditional’ hospital services such as surgical and medical treatment, they will have operating theatre and recovery facilities, and day and/or overnight beds. Some will have high-dependency or critical care facilities and some will draw patients from other parts of the country or overseas. They include all providers of cosmetic surgery.
    • Single specialty services: This includes services such as termination of pregnancy, dialysis and hyperbaric therapy.
    • Non-hospital acute services: These are acute healthcare services provided for private patients by individual providers, mainly consultants, in a surgery or consulting room. 
  • We are testing this approach in 16 independent acute hospitals during the consultation period and intend that it will be rolled out to all providers from April 2015. We will pilot in a selection of services from April to September 2015 and roll out to all from October 2015.
  • Services that fall under the ambulance umbrella include: 999 calls, Specialist service transfers (high dependency, intensive care transfer, paediatric patients), patient transport services and resilience planning.
  • We began testing our new approach in two NHS ambulance trusts in August and September 2014. Our approach for the next inspections of ambulance services will incorporate our learning and experience from those first inspections.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.