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A journalist with 13 years of experience on trade publications covering construction, local government, property, pubs, and transport.
January 3, 2018

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‘World first’ for patient safety with CQC-rated abortion clinics

The Department for Health has announced an extension of the Care Quality Commission’s current ratings programme with what it claims is a ‘world first’ for patient safety.

Abortion clinics will now have to publicly display official CQC ratings bringing them into line with all other healthcare organisations in England which offer regulated care.

The secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt, said the changes were ‘a world first for patient safety’.

Describing the CQC as an ‘Ofsted style’ inspection scheme meant that the NHS could ‘keep pace with the changing landscape of healthcare, as well as helping tech savvy patients to make informed decisions about their care’.‎

CQC inspection regime

The current CQC inspection regime asks five questions of hospitals, general practices and care services – including on safety and ensuring facilities avoid harm and protect patients and staff from abuse.

Facilities are then rated in one of four categories – outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate.

New organisations to be rated are:

  • substance misuse centres
  • independent ambulances
  • cosmetic surgery providers
  • termination of pregnancy providers
  • dialysis units
  • refractive eye surgery providers
  • independent community health service providers

However, certain services are excluded, since they are already rated by other bodies, and includes primary dental care, national screening services, and blood and transplant services.


Sir David Behan, CQC chief executive, said: “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.”


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