A tough new regulator for health and adult social care services will ensure good quality and safe care for the public, Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson said on Wednesday.
The Care Quality Commission will have a key role in tackling and preventing healthcare associated infections (HCAIs), strengthening the current system of regulation. They will have the power to carry out annual infection control inspections, increase the frequency of checks for hospitals with high rates of HCAIs, and take rapid action to close down wards if necessary, making sure that they are thoroughly cleaned before they can be reopened for patients. They will also be able to issue early warning notices in order to ensure trusts take swift action when issues arise.
Alan Johnson said:
"Despite progress, tackling infection remains a challenge for the NHS. I am determined that we will take action where necessary to safeguard patients and ensure staff feel able to report concerns.
"The regulator will have tougher powers to inspect and even close wards in order to protect patients and service users. NHS staff, such as matrons, nurses and porters, who spend every day on the wards, need to feel able to report concerns to the new regulator.
"The Care Quality Commission will ensure that all patients receive a safe and quality service, no matter what part of the system they are accessing, and at which point."