CQC’s regulatory approach during the third Covid-19 lockdown

At the start of the pandemic the CQC paused its routine inspections and focused their activity in response to risk. This week the regulator published an update to its regulatory approach confirming that, in response to the “very latest position”, they will “continue to only undertake inspection activity in response to a serious risk of harm or where it supports the system’s response to the pandemic”.

So what does this mean for health and social care providers?

CQC confirm that, in addition to undertaking inspection activity where there is a clear risk to safety, they will adapt their monitoring depending on the type of service as described below:

Adult social care services

  • Continue to undertake infection, prevention and control inspections in care homes to ensure people are receiving safe care
  • “Rapidly” inspect potential designated sites for Covid-19 patients so that they can be discharged from hospital in a timely way
  • Inspect services where there is an ability to be awarded a new rating
  • Continue to monitor and assess services where there is a risk of a closed culture developing

Any adult social care inspection activity will be agreed by Heads of Inspection we are told.

Hospital services including independent health services

  • Undertake inspection activity of emergency departments whttps://www.mills-reeve.com/people/jill-masonhere data indicates that increased pressure is impacting on the quality and safety of care
  • Continue to undertake Mental Health Act monitoring visits
  • Carry out infection, prevention and control inspections where there are concerns of a hospital’s oversight of infection risk

Primary medical services

  • Only inspect in response to significant risk of harm
  • Continue to work jointly with Ofsted to inspect SEND services

There is a note about registrations. CQC confirm they will continue to prioritise registration applications that support the system’s response to Covid-19.


CQC explain they will continue to adapt their approach to monitoring but their latest announcement reflects the challenging times that health and care providers are operating in. Health and care operators will be aware that the regulator is reviewing its approach to regulation through a consultation on its future strategy.

Do get in touch if you would like to discuss any of the issues raised here or if you would like to speak to a member of our CQC regulatory team.

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Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.


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