The acceleration of the vaccine booster programme, announced yesterday in response to alarming new data about the spread of the Omicron variant, will require a massive effort from the NHS which is already under severe pressure. In recognition of this we are postponing on-site inspection activity in acute hospitals, ambulance services and general practice for the next three weeks with immediate effect - except in cases where we have evidence of risk to life, or the immediate risk of serious harm to people.
We will continue risk-based inspection activity in other sectors, including adult social care, mental health, independent health and dentists. We will also be offering additional support to acute hospitals and GPs in order to provide advice on the risks they are facing and to escalate these if necessary.
This decision has been taken in response to the extremely fast-moving situation, with the aim of being as supportive as possible to the increased pressure on the NHS. It updates previous communications on our inspection approach – however, our priority, as ever, remains to keep people safe.