Healthcare websites to be awarded quality ratings for the first time

The Department of Health has confirmed that it will grant the Care Quality Commission (CQC) the power to rate even more healthcare services, such as those that offer medical advice and prescriptions from GPs online, so that this becomes the default way that the regulator presents the judgements from its inspections.

This confirmation means that people will have clear, accessible and independent information about even more of their healthcare services in England.

CQC already rates NHS and independent hospitals, general practices and adult social care services as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate.

It does this following expert-led inspections, which are based around what matters most to people who use services – whether they are safe, caring, effective, responsive to their needs and well-led.

In September 2017, the Department of Health confirmed that it would broaden CQC’s powers to rate independent healthcare providers. These include cosmetic surgery, substance misuse and termination of pregnancy clinics.

At the same time, the Department of Health launched another public consultation, which proposed to increase CQC’s powers even further so that awarding ratings to the services CQC regulates should become the default way that CQC presents the judgements from its inspections.

This would bring all independent community health services and independent doctors within scope.

On 3 January the Department of Health published the outcome to this consultation, which confirms that its proposals have been accepted. This means that CQC can now develop an approach for how it will rate these additional services. CQC will launch a public consultation on this topic in the New Year.

CQC will continue to inspect these services and publish its findings in the meantime.

Sir David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, said: “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 and so, the ability to award ratings to them will bring increased transparency for the public about the quality and safety of their healthcare.

“We look forward to taking this work forward in the New Year.”

 

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