CQC sets out new plans for inspecting substance misuse services

Published: 22 September 2014 Page last updated: 3 November 2022

CQC has set out its new approach to inspecting substance misuse services.

At the heart of the new approach is our commitment to tailor inspections to the issues that matter to people using substance misuse services. The way we regulate these services will reflect national policy priorities for substance misuse.

In particular it will reflect the key aim of the government's drug strategy to put people's recovery at the heart of its approach. This means making sure that people are able to quickly access high-quality services that assess the whole individual. It also means making sure that people's needs and choices are at the centre of their treatment.

Expert inspection teams

Inspections will be carried out by specially trained inspection teams that will often include professional experts such as doctors, psychologists, pharmacist and therapists. They will also include 'experts by experience', people with personal experience of using services and will use information from people who use services, their carers and families.

The plans are set out in 'Developing our new approach for specialist substance misuse services', published today (23 September).

As with other CQC inspections, we seek to ensure that services are safe, caring, effective, responsive to people's needs and well-led.

A unique and diverse sector

Substance misuse treatment is a unique, diverse sector and people using these services often have complex and varied needs. Treatment may be short or long term and people often need help from a number of agencies.

The inspection programme will be led by CQC's Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, who said: "It is vital when looking at substance misuse services that the views, opinions and experiences of people who use them are listened to and that any judgement that we make about those service reflects the what we have heard.

"I am determined that this experience of care and treatment form a central part of the future inspection of services, which can be so vital to those seeking care and treatment, I will be giving ratings to substance misuse service providers so people can be clear about the quality of services and to help drive improvement.

"Where we can, we will align our inspections of substance misuse services with other sectors we regulate, such as community mental health or learning disability services, community services, primary care services and acute hospitals."

'Developing our new approach for specialist substance misuses services' says CQC will identify a set of services that will be inspected for a substance misuse provider. For the first inspections, these will be:

  • Hospital inpatient-based services
  • Community based services
  • Residential rehabilitation services

Substance misuse services: a fresh start

Read about how we're changing the way we regulate, inspect and monitor specialist substance misuse services.

A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of substance misuse services