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Inspecting and regulating mental health services

29 November 2013
  • Public

We’re changing the way we inspect specialist mental health care services and putting a greater emphasis on inspecting the care that people with mental health problems receive in the community.

A fresh start…

The changes we propose are outlined in the document below.

Key changes

The main changes to our inspection approach are:

  • including mental health specialists on all inspections of mental health services and bringing together our work under the Mental Health Act and how we regulate mental health services.
  • setting up inspection teams of specialist inspectors, Experts by Experience and professional experts.
  • rating mental health services with one of the following: Outstanding, Good, Requires improvement or Inadequate.
  • engaging with people who use services, their carers and families, during inspections and at other times in new ways.
  • making sure we have better information about mental health services and developing our intelligent monitoring system for these services.
  • looking at how people are cared for as they move between services.
  • recognising that mental health treatment and support is part of services in all sectors.

Putting the changes into practice

We will pilot our new inspection approach with the NHS, with the aim of expanding this to other specialist mental health providers including the independent sector.

We have selected five trusts that will take part in the first wave of the pilot. These trusts are:

  • Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust
  • Devon Partnership Trust
  • Dudley & Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
  • South West London & St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust
  • Solent NHS Trust.

Strengthening our approach

Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “The needs of people with mental health problems run through all the areas that CQC regulates and we have recognised that we need to strengthen our approach to regulating specialist mental health services to ensure that people get care that is safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well led. I regard this as every bit as important as the changes I am making to the way we regulate acute hospitals.

“Our new approach will bring together both strands of CQC’s work in relation to mental health – our work under the Mental Health Act and how we regulate mental health services.

“I am appointing a Deputy Chief Inspector for Mental Health who will work with me, leading expert inspection teams who will spend more time listening to people who use services, carers and staff.”

Last updated:
29 May 2017