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Health and Adult Social Care

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

Today I am publishing a consultation document, which is the latest stage in the development of the new system we are introducing for the regulation of health and adult social care.

The publication, “Response to consultation on the framework for the registration of health and adult social care providers and consultation on draft regulations” sets out our response to our previous consultation, “The future regulation of health and adult social care in England: A consultation on the framework for the regulation of health and adult social care”. It describes the new registration framework for the new Care Quality Commission, to be introduced from April 2010. It also launches a new consultation on the content of the draft regulations.

From 1 April 2009, the Care Quality Commission will take over from the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Mental Health Act Commission.

For 2009-10, the new commission will continue to regulate adult social care and private and voluntary healthcare under the terms of the Care Standards Acts 2000. Also in 2009-10, it will regulate national health service providers against regulations made under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (the 2008 Act) relating to healthcare associated infections, which were recently approved by Parliament.

From April 2010, the commission will operate a new registration system based on regulations to be made under the 2008 Act. It is the content of these regulations we are now consulting on.

The draft regulations set out who needs to register with the new commission (scope of registration) and what they need to do to register and remain registered (registration requirements).

The new approach will mean that patients and people using services will have the same level of assurance of the quality and safety of their care and treatment, whether it is being provided by the NHS, local government or the independent sector.

The registration requirements are designed to address the concerns of people using health and adult social care services, covering the topics on which they want assurance. They provide clarity about the essential levels of safety and quality all providers must deliver for people who use their services, without being prescriptive about how providers run their services.

The registration system will operate alongside a wider quality improvement framework that encourages not just good care, but excellent care. The commission will have a role in contributing to ongoing quality improvement as part of the wider quality framework, particularly through its publication of comparable information in periodic reviews, and its power to conduct special reviews into areas of particular interest.

Regulation plays a vital role within the Government’s drive to make quality the organising principle of care. “High quality care for all” set out that vision for the NHS, but the underpinning ambition and principles apply equally across all forms of health and adult social care. The White Paper: “Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services” (January 2006), which is available in the Library, described the framework that is now used for promoting quality in adult social care services and set out the seven key outcomes that adult social care should deliver.

This publication will be of interest to anyone providing or working in health and adult social care, and to patients and people using services, who are interested in how the reforms are going to improve these services.

Today’s publication has been placed in the Library and copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office.