Department of Health Consultation on Expanding CQC Ratings

Lorna Jackson
By Lorna Jackson

Lorna has been the Editor of The Consulting Room (www.consultingroom.com), the UK's largest aesthetic information website, since 2003.


The Department of Health has launched a consultation on proposals to extend the types of provider registered with Care Quality Commission (CQC) that they are able to rate following inspection.

The CQC already rate NHS trusts, general practices, care homes, hospices, home care and other types of community adult social care, and private hospitals.

The Department of Health is proposing that they publish ratings for a number of additional types of provider that they already regulate but currently don’t rate.

These are:

  • Independent Community Health Service Providers
  • Cosmetic Surgery Providers
  • Independent ambulance services
  • Independent dialysis units
  • Refractive eye surgery providers
  • Substance misuse centres
  • Termination of pregnancy services

In identifying these sectors the Government has considered whether a rating would be of value to users and commissioners of services and whether the CQC has the capacity to start rating the providers in 2017.

The Care Act 2014 requires the CQC to carry out performance assessments of providers of health and adult social care services. These performance assessments are provided in the form of a rating.

When ratings were introduced in 2014 they were limited to NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts, GP practices, adult social care providers and independent hospitals.

Since the CQC began publishing ratings in October 2014, the CQC has rated over ten thousand providers. It has learned from the process of developing ratings for these sectors and the Government would like to see this learning applied to other sectors and is seeking views on this issue via a consultation.

Professor Edward Baker, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission said:

“Our ratings of NHS trusts, general practices, independent hospitals, and adult social care services are supporting providers to improve and importantly, helping people to make informed choices about their care.

Through our ratings of outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate, never before has the public had such clear and accessible information about the quality and safety of their services.

The Department of Health’s consultation proposes to extend the types of services that we are able to award these ratings to in the interests of continued transparency and so that we can make sure people receive the safe, high-quality and compassionate care they deserve.

Extending the scope of our ratings to cover these additional services would allow us to celebrate even more good and outstanding care that is out there and to help the public be even clearer on those services that need additional support to improve.”

Health Secretary, Jermy Hunt said of the announcement:

“Anyone who chooses to have a cosmetic procedure should have high quality and safe care - and that’s why we have a tough regulator in place to help people make an informed decision.

Our proposals to extend the CQC’s powers to rate more providers are an important step forward in improving standards and will help to end the lottery of poor practice in parts of the cosmetic industry.”

The consultation is open until 11:45pm on 14th October 2016.

It seeks survey responses from Voluntary groups, Community groups, Charities, Advocacy or support organisations, GPs, Nurses, Health visitors, Clinicians, Managers, Commissioners, Paramedics, Allied Health Professionals, Ophthalmic Practitioners, NHS quality improvement leads, NHS patient experience leads, NHS patient safety leads, clinical staff, patient groups and patient advocates, Academic/ Professional institution, Members of the public , Patients, Carers and Service users.

The PDF document which outlines the ‘Scope of performance assessments of providers regulated by the Care Quality Commission’ is available here (PDF).


Giving the CQC the power to rate providers of cosmetic surgery will improve patient safety - Statement from Royal College of Surgeons (RCS)

The Royal College of Surgeons has welcomed the Department of Health’s (DH) proposal to expand the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) public ratings system to providers of cosmetic surgery, saying it will complement the new system of certification of surgeons that the RCS will launch later this year.

Commenting on the proposal, Mr Stephen Cannon, Chair of the Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee and Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

“Deciding to undergo cosmetic surgery is a big decision and choosing the right provider can often be confusing and overwhelming for prospective patients. It is excellent news that the Department of Health is proposing to expand the CQC’s public ratings system to cosmetic surgery providers.
The easier it is for patients considering cosmetic surgery to identify providers that meet the high standards required for safe surgery, the better.

Earlier this year, the RCS worked with the regulators the GMC and the CQC to produce new professional standards for cosmetic surgery. If these proposals go ahead, the CQC will refer to the new standards when carrying out their inspections and before they rate private hospitals or clinics.

We will also launch a system of certification for surgeons later this year which will help patients to find a certified surgeon, with the appropriate training, experience and insurance to carry out a procedure.
If the CQC’s rating programme is extended to providers of cosmetic surgery, patients will be able to review how a hospital has been rated by the CQC and whether the surgeon has been certified by the Royal College of Surgeons, before making their decision on where to have treatment. This will improve patient safety and tighten regulation of the industry.”

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

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