From 2011/12, all GP practices will be required to register with the Care Quality Commission, regardless of the services they provide, following the publication today (30 March 2009) of a new framework to regulate health and social care services.
The new Care Quality Commission comes into effect on 1 April 2009 and, from 2011/12, will register all providers of health and adult social care services against a single set of registration requirements that are focused on the safety and quality of care.
Without registering with the Care Quality Commission, it will be illegal for health and adult social care organisations to provide services that are in the scope of the new framework. To maintain their registration, providers will need to demonstrate an ongoing ability to meet all the requirements.
The Department of Health says that, given the increasing range of services offered in primary care, including minor operations and other services traditionally provided in hospitals, it is important that patients have the same degree of protection, regardless of where they receive their care.
While GPs and other healthcare professionals are already individually registered by their professional governing bodies, this new framework is designed to give further reassurance to patients that they are protected.
Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said: "The way that health and adult social care services are being delivered is changing. The same person may well receive care from both health and social care providers in a range of settings, including at their GP surgery, community or residential settings, hospital or from a range of public or independent providers.
"This is the first time that one single registration framework will ensure that the health and adult social care services people receive will be safe and of a high quality, regardless of which organisation is providing it."
Subject to Parliamentary approval, the registration system will be introduced from 2011/12. For the NHS, registration with the Care Quality Commission against requirements on healthcare associated infections (HCAI) will be implemented from April 2009.