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CQC inspections to be extended and future-proofed

The Department of Health has announced changes to the inspection system that mean all healthcare organisations in England offering regulated care will be rated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for the first time.

Organisations will have to display their inspection ratings so patients can clearly see safety standards. This will allow patients to make an informed choice when deciding which care service they want to use.

The CQC’s current ratings programme - which covers hospital care, social care and GPs - will be extended to include more than 800 additional providers. This includes independent doctors that offer primary care online. The move will reassure patients who use digital GP apps provided by independent doctors about the quality and safety of the service they are choosing. The changes will bring the services in line with the rest of the NHS.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says: "With our NHS now in its 70th year, we are planning ahead to guarantee safer and better care for patients in the years to come. These changes are a world first for patient safety, modernising our tough Ofsted-style inspection scheme so we keep pace with the changing landscape of healthcare, as well as helping tech-savvy patients to make informed decisions about their care.

Sir David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission, adds: "CQC’s ratings of health and care services are helping people to make informed choices about their care as well as supporting providers to improve. Never before has the public had such clear information about the quality and safety of their health and care services.

"CQC already inspects and publishes reports for these additional services. The ability to award ratings to them will bring increased transparency for the public about the quality and safety of their healthcare."