Inspection and Regulation


CQC and HMIP set out new approach to prison inspections

The CQC and HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to clarify how they will work together during inspections of prison healthcare.

The two organisations agreed to make maximum use of each other’s knowledge and be clear about the individual and joint priorities of each collaboration.

When either organisation makes an intervention in prison health services, it will co-ordinate with the other as far as possible, and they will pool information and risk assessments around services.

Both the BMA and Public Health England have warned that prisoners are suffering from second-rate healthcare.

However, the MoU cautioned that the organisations would need to keep their different systems of accountability separate, but would align them as closely as possible when scrutinising a provider, in order to avoid duplication of effort.

The organisations also agreed that each body would respect the other’s expertise. HMIP will take the lead in ensuring that offender services, including their health and social care aspects, meet expectations. The CQC will take the lead in ensuring that healthcare and social providers comply with registration and regulated activity regulations.

The MoU was signed by Peter Clarke, chief inspector of prisons, and David Behan, chief executive of the CQC.

Nigel Thompson, head of inspections (children’s health and justice) at the CQC, and Paul Tarbuck, head of healthcare inspection at HMI Prisons, will meet regularly to discuss the two organisations’ goals.

In addition, HMIP will provide CQC with its schedule of inspections six months in advance to allow time for CQC to allocate inspectors to these inspections, while CQC will share information about registration and regulation of providers with HMIP during inspections.

The news comes as the CQC opened a consultation on proposals to introduce more targeted and unannounced inspections of core NHS services.

(Image c. Anthony Devlin from PA Wire and PA Images)

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