Health care and social services are now under the watchful eye of a new unified watchdog with enhanced powers to monitor and regulate standards
The Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Mental Health Act Commission have been replaced by a ‘super-regulator’ known as the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The body holds tough powers over the registering of NHS trusts, including the provision to suspend registration and even start prosecutions if trusts fail to comply with codes of practice.
An aim of the new regulator is to bring more information to the public about local services and ensure no-one `falls through the gaps`, according to its chairman Baroness Young.
She said: ‘Over the next year we are going to have increasing regulation of providers and a very different system for doing it.
‘We will have more enforcement powers. For example, we will bring all NHS bodies in for regulation for the first time and measure them against a whole range of quality criteria.
‘From 2011/12, the Government has agreed in principle that we will bring primary care services, GPs and dentists, under our regulation.’
She added there was no doubt the public was interested in how well local GP services are run, saying: ‘If there are services that are substandard and they are not improving fast then of course we can take action - everything from a stern telling off from behind the bike sheds to applying conditions to their registration, to suspending their registration, to prosecution.’