What powers does the CQC have?

Liz Blamire

16th March 2023

A recent BBC news headline states: 'Inadequate' care home put into special measures What does this actually mean and what powers does the CQC have?

What is the CQC?

The Care Quality Commission is an independent organisation, given powers by the government to monitor, inspect and regulate health and some social care settings in England.

The purpose of the CQC is to:

Make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

What powers does the CQC have?

When the CQC discovers poor or unsafe care provided by a service they regulate, they can take action to bring about an improvement.

The type of action taken depends on the nature and severity of the failings in care.

The action the CQC can take includes:

  • Using requirement notices or warning notices to set out what improvements the care provider must make and by when.
  • Making changes to a care provider's registration to limit what they may do, for example by imposing conditions for a given time.
  • Placing a provider in special measures, where the CQC closely supervises the quality of care while working with other organisations to help them improve within set timescales.
  • Hold the care provider to account for their failings by:
    • issuing simple cautions
    • issuing fines
    • prosecuting cases where people are harmed or placed in danger of harm.

What has happened in the Leicester care home in the BBC report?

The care home was a subject to an unannounced inspection January and was given a rating of inadequate. All settings are given both an overall rating and five separate ratings for the 5 key areas of the service, on a four point scale after inspection as follows:

  • Outstanding
  • Good
  • Requires improvement
  • Inadequate

Therefore, the care home received the lowest rating overall. It was also rated inadequate in the two areas of 'safe' and 'well-led'. The BBC report and the original inspection report (which you can find here), state that residents were not adequately protected from harm, for example from:

  • Environmental hazards, such as large knives and broken equipment.
  • Practice related hazards - medicines were not safely managed and an individual was found with dangerously high blood sugar.
  • Potential abuse - staff were not all trained in safeguarding and did not know how to report any potential safeguarding concerns.

They also found that the care home did not respond appropriately to people's rights and needs and were not consistently giving person-centred care.

The home is now in special measures, which means the CQC will keep their registration under review, monitoring for any serious incidents or complaints, and will make a return visit to the care home within 6 months. The care home must now provide an action plan to detail exactly how they will improve care.

Liz Blamire

Liz is a former NHS midwife, who has worked in community, birth centre and acute hospital settings. Liz is an SSAT Accredited Lead Practitioner, who has taught Health and Social Care in FE and secondary schools, where she was a successful HOD. Liz is an experienced senior examiner and author and is the current tutor2u subject lead for Health and Social Care.

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