Adult social care services are subject to both registration and inspection. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the regulator for adult social care in England. It is responsible for setting the standards that services must meet, and for registering and inspecting services to ensure they are meeting these standards.
Services must be registered with the CQC before they can start providing care. The CQC inspects services to check that they are meeting the required standards and takes action if they are not. Services can be closed down if they do not meet the required standards.
Some services that are subject to registration include care homes, substance abuse treatment programs, and personal service providers such as home contractors. The Health Foundation defines Acute Care Services as where a patient receives active, short-term treatment for a condition. In contrast Social Services often involve long-term arrangements to assist individuals in activities of daily living.
The CQC publishes reports on the quality of care services, which are available to the public. The reports include information on how well the services meet the required standards, as well as details on any action that has been taken against the service.
Although CQC does not inspect all services provided by hospitals, they do inspect the following services at every acute hospital (where provided):
The CQC also inspects mental health services, including community and inpatient services.