What is the Care Quality Commission?

You hear the Care Quality Commission (CQC) mentioned quite often in the news these days, so what is it? Basically it is the body that regulates healthcare in England.

So what is it?

It is responsible, for example, for regulating GP practices, out-of-hours services, NHS 111, and dental practices (it does not inspect pharmacies, which have their own regulator, the General Pharmaceutical Council).

It is relatively new in this job, only starting in 2013. There are around 8,000 GP practices in England and it plans to have inspected each of these at least once by April 2016.

When inspecting a practice the CQC asks asking five key questions: is it safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well led? It will also look at how services are provided to people in specific population groups such as older people and those with long-term conditions or poor mental health.

Practices will be rated as ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires Improvement’, or ‘Inadequate’ for each of the five key questions and for each population group.

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