CQC publishes plans for its new approach to regulating healthcare in secure settings

Published: 28 October 2014 Page last updated: 3 November 2022

Public invited to give their views on how healthcare in prisons, youth offending institutions and immigration removal centres is regulated

CQC will apply its new approach to inspection to secure settings, says a document published today.

Healthcare services in prisons, youth offender institutions (YOI) and immigration removal centres (IRCs) will all be subject to CQC's new style of regulation from next year and the public have been invited to give their views on the new model, as set out in the 'signposting' document, which gives preliminary plans.

Regulation in secure settings is particularly important because detainees rely on the authorities for their care and wellbeing and cannot choose their provider. There is also a higher than average rate of ill health among the prison population.

The signposting document flags potential ways for inspection teams to collect information about the way health services are delivered and experienced, such as holding focus groups and one-to-one sessions with detainees.

While CQC has been inspecting the way health services are delivered in secure settings since 2009, the revised approach will align this work with its new strategy.

Specialist inspection teams, working in partnership with Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons (HMI Prisons), will investigate whether services are safe, caring, effective,  responsive to the needs of those using them and well-led.

From April 2013, NHS England took responsibility for commissioning health services in secure settings. CQC hopes this this will create greater consistency in the way services are delivered in England, the document says.

CQC plans to work with NHS England and HMI Prisons to explore the way data about these services is used to monitor the way health care is delivered in these settings.

You can read the document and find out how you can give your views here. Further consultation on plans to inspect these settings will run from January 2015.

CQC chief inspector of general practice, Steve Field said:

"People who use services in secure settings are generally in a more vulnerable situation because they rely on authorities for their safety, care and wellbeing, and they are unable to choose their care. It is our responsibility to ensure that detainees are safeguarded against ill treatment and receive the same quality of care as the rest of the population.

"This signposting statement highlights some of the questions that we need to consider over the coming months in order to build an inspection framework that not only works for this sector, but also complements the progress we are making in other sectors."

Inspecting together

Read about how we're changing the way we regulate and inspect healthcare in secure settings.

Inspecting together