By: 27 September 2013

The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) new programme of hospital inspections has commenced, with inspections being carried out in London and Yorkshire.


The inspections, under the leadership of CQC’s new Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards involve significantly larger inspection teams than CQC has used in the past.


The teams carrying out the work include doctors, nurses and other experts and will see them arrive at hospitals unannounced on some occasions. They will inspect eight key services areas: A&E; medical care; surgery; intensive/critical care; maternity; paediatrics/children’s care; end of life care; and outpatients.


Each inspection will provide the public with a clear picture of the quality of care in their local hospital, exposing poor and mediocre care and highlighting the many hospitals providing good and excellent care. Where there are failures in care, Sir Richards make sure a clear programme is put in place to deal with the problems.


"These inspections are designed to provide people with a clear picture of the quality of the services in their local hospital, exposing poor or mediocre care as well as highlighting areas of good and excellent care," said Sir Richards.


"We know there is too much variation in quality in the NHS – these new in-depth inspections will allow us to get a much more detailed picture of care in hospitals than ever before. Inspections are supported by an improved method for identifying risks and with much more information direct from patients and their families, and hospital staff.


In all, 18 NHS trusts will be inspected by the end of the year and by the end of 2015 CQC will have inspected all hospitals whose care levels have been singled out as problematic. A report will then be published on the team's findings.