Health secretary Andrew Lansley has said the Care Quality Commission will continue “nurse led inspections” next year, as part of its “proactive and tough” regulation regime for care providers.
Nursing Times has also learnt that the CQC plans to recruit more nurses to carry out these inspections.
In an interview with Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal, Mr Lansley said he had concerns about the CQC’s previous focus on “box ticking”, which he had told the regulator to address at the beginning of 2011.
He said: “I was clear with them they would be pursuing nurse led inspections. The ‘nurse led’ is important in this context – it means they are not just looking to see if the paperwork is right, they’re looking to see that the care is right.”
He added: “I think people would recognise over the course of this year, the CQC have been doing exactly that.”
The CQC carried out a series of inspections at 100 hospitals earlier this year, focused on dignity and nutrition for older patients. The full results were published in a critical report last month.
As reported by Nursing Times, around 50 senior nurses were involved in these inspections. Mr Lansley said he expected similar inspections to continue next year.
CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower told Nursing Times the Department of Health had approved the recruitment of a further 230 inspectors for 2012-13 – an increase of nearly a third on present numbers.
She said a significant number would be nurses or have a nursing background.