We currently inspect most hospitals, care homes and home care services at least once a year, and we inspect dental services at least once every two years.
We also re-inspect services that aren’t meeting standards and we will inspect services more often if we think they are providing poor care that might be putting people at risk.
Are inspections unannounced?
Our inspections are unannounced unless there is a good reason for us to let the service know we are coming.
What do we do during the inspection?
During our inspections we:
- ask people about their experiences of receiving care.
- talk to care staff.
- check that the right systems and processes are in place.
- look for evidence that the service isn’t meeting national standards.
Sometimes our inspectors will be accompanied by clinical experts and Experts by experience (people who have experience of receiving care) who will also talk to people who receive care.
We judge services against the national standards which are the standards that people can expect when receiving health or social care.
However, we are now in the process of changing what we look at so that we answer the following questions about services.
- Are they safe?
- Are they effective?
- Are they caring?
- Are they well led?
- Are they responsive to people’s needs?
We will publish more information about the fundamental standards soon.
Types of inspections
We carry out three types of inspections.
- Scheduled: these are unannounced inspections that focus on a minimum of five of the national standards, and they’re also tailored to the type of care that is provided at the service.
- Responsive: these are unannounced inspections that are carried out where there are concerns about poor care.
- Themed: these inspections focus on specific standards of care or care services.