Regulation for health and adult social care providers published

A new framework to regulate the safety and quality of health and social care services was published today by the Department of Health, ahead of the new Care Quality Commission coming into effect on 1 April 2009.

From 2010/11, the Care Quality Commission will register all providers of health and adult social care services against a single set of registration requirements that are focused on the safety and quality of care.

Without registering with the Care Quality Commission, it will be illegal for health and adult social care organisations to provide services that are in the scope of the new framework.

To maintain their registration, providers will need to demonstrate an ongoing ability to meet all the requirements.

In addition, primary medical and primary dental care will also be brought into regulation by the Care Quality Commission. Given the increasing range of services offered in primary care, including minor operations and other services traditionally provided in hospitals, it is important that patients have the same degree of protection, regardless of where they receive their care.

This means that, for the first time, all 8,500 GP practices and 9,000 high street dental practices will be required to register with the Care Quality Commission, regardless of whether they provide solely private, solely NHS services, or a mix of both.

Although GPs and other healthcare professionals are already individually registered by their professional governing bodies, this framework will give further reassurance to patients that they are protected.

The Department of Health is working with relevant stakeholders to consider further how the new registration system will interact with existing regulation in this area.

Health Minister, Ben Bradshaw said: “The way that health and adult social care services are being delivered is changing. The same person may well receive care from both health and social care providers in a range of settings including at their GP surgery, community or residential settings, hospital or from a range of public or independent providers.

“This is the first time that one single registration framework will ensure that the health and adult social care services people receive will be safe and of a high quality regardless of which organisation is providing it.”