What is Care Quality Commission?
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator for health and social care in England.
It makes sure services such as hospitals, care homes, dentists and GP surgeries provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care, and encourages these services to improve.
The CQC monitors and inspects these services, and then publishes its findings and ratings to help people make choices about their care.
CQC inspections and ratings
CQC inspection teams are made up of clinical and other experts, as well as people with direct experience of the relevant type of care. The teams visit services, speak to staff and patients, and observe the care provided.
Each service is assessed against five key questions:
- Is it safe?
- Is it effective?
- Is it caring?
- Is it responsive to people's needs?
- Is it well led?
Based on the outcome of the inspection, CQC gives an overall rating as well as one for each of the key questions. Further ratings for core services (such as surgery or maternity in hospitals) or population groups (such as people with long-term conditions in GP services) can also be awarded.
There are four levels of rating:
- outstanding – the service is performing exceptionally well
- good – the service is performing well and meets CQC's expectations
- requires improvement – the service isn't performing as well as it should and CQC has told the service how it should improve
- inadequate – the service is performing badly and CQC has taken action against the person or organisation that runs it
A full inspection report and all ratings for a service are published on the CQC website to help you make better decisions about the care you receive.