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First inspections of independent hospitals

22 October 2014

Two independent hospitals that were identified last month as part of the new approach to inspection are being inspected today.

Inspectors will spend two days at the Spire Southampton Hospital in Hampshire looking at several of the core services we will inspect during each inspection where they are provided, including:

  • surgery
  • medical care
  • critical care
  • children and young people’s care and
  • outpatients and diagnostics

Inspectors will also spend one day at the London Welbeck Hospital looking at the surgical and outpatient services as these are the only service that it provides.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “The first inspections at Spire Southampton and the London Welbeck Hospitals are the starting point for CQC to hold the independent sector to the same standards s the NHS.

“As we have seen in the NHS, these new-style inspections will allow us to get under the skin of the organisation to give us a much more detailed picture of independent hospital care in England than ever before.

“We are significantly increasing public access to information on independent healthcare, which is good news for people who use services, as it will help people to make informed decisions about their care.”

About the inspections

Professor Sir Mike Richards has identified a further six independent hospitals to be inspected by the end of December 2014. The six are:

  • Baddow Hospital, Essex
  • BMI Mount Alvernia, Surrey
  • The Lister Hospital, London
  • Nuffield Health Tees hospital, County Durham
  • Oaklands Hospital, Salford
  • Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, Devon

We will inspect services provided in independent sector hospitals to NHS funded patients as well as those who are self-paying or funded though insurance. We have selected these as they vary in size and services offered, they are a mix of low and high risk based on previous inspections and some hospitals that are owned by a corporate company and some which are stand alone.

Our new regulatory approach for the independent health care sector means that, for the first time, providers will be awarded ratings from April 2015. This means there will also be a significant increase in access to information that will help people who use the services to make decisions about their care.

The core services that will be looked at during each inspection where they are provided, are:

  • outpatients and diagnostics
  • medicine
  • surgery (including cosmetic surgery)
  • critical care
  • urgent and emergency care
  • maternity services
  • children and young people and
  • termination of pregnancy

Each inspection seeks to answer five questions - is the service:

  • safe?
  • caring?
  • effective?
  • well-led?
  • responsive to people’s needs?

Where there are failures in care, Sir Mike will highlight what needs to be addressed and will ask the hospitals to make sure a clear programme is put in place to deal with any problems.

Last updated:
29 May 2017