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Getting inspections right for children and young people

4 August 2014

The importance of hospital services for children and young people is underlined in a report published today by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Following the introduction of its new way of inspecting acute hospitals, with significantly larger inspection teams than before, headed up by a senior clinician or manager involving clinical and other experts including service users and carers, Professor Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of hospitals asked Dr Sheila Shribman to advise on how CQC inspects hospital services for children and young people including stand-alone specialist children’s hospitals.

Dr Shribman, a former National Clinical Director for children, young people and maternity at the Department of Health lead a small team including clinical experts and CQC staff to design methodology to make sure the inspections were fit for purpose for children and young people. The team consulted with a range of key stakeholders.

Dr Shribman’s final report, Getting it right for children & young people (including those transitioning into adult services): a report on CQC’s new approach to inspection, has resulted in 73 recommendations a number of which formed the basis of two successful pilot inspections of specialist children’s hospitals (Sheffield and Alder Hey) that took place in May-June 2014. All the recommendations have now been considered and CQC accepts in whole or in part 70 of these recommendations. CQC has deferred making a decision on the remaining three.

Dr Shribman said: "I was delighted when Sir Mike asked me to oversee this work. It was hugely encouraging that the CQC recognised the importance of services for children and young people as well as the added complexities that children and young people bring to the inspection process. CQC’s new approach to inspection provides a real opportunity to drive up the standard of care for children and young people and reduce unacceptable variations.

"To do this CQC must get its inspection model right. My report sets out how CQC can begin to achieve this. It was a pragmatic report, focusing on what CQC can realistically be expected to deliver.

"The overall level of acceptance of my recommendations is encouraging although I would, of course, have hoped that more of the recommendations could have been accepted in full. The key now is that CQC should not become complacent. Momentum should not be lost. I would urge CQC to bring forward the review dates on the recommendations where decisions have been deferred."

Prof Sir Mike Richards said: "I am grateful to Dr Shribman for her considered report. Her recommendations make sense and we are accepting in whole or in part almost all of them. They will go a long way to ensuring that our inspection of services for children and young people are appropriate and command the confidence of those working in this field.

"I have asked Professor Ted Baker, one of my Deputy Chief Inspectors to have overarching responsibility for the children and young people’s hospital inspection agenda. He will ensure this important work moves forward."

Dr Shribman’s report is published on the same day that CQC publishes its inspection report in to Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust. The inspection was led by CQC’s Head of Hospital Inspection, Heidi Smoult, who said; "We found Dr Shribman’s recommendations extremely valuable in helping us to understand and assess the care being received by children and young people at the hospital. It has highlighted the need for appropriate care for children of all age groups and the careful management of their transition, where necessary, from children’s services to adult services."

You can read the report and our response to the individual recommendations at the links below.

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

Notes to editors

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.