Joint inspection for care and health

for a single body to inspect social care and health services were
signalled by health secretary Alan Milburn in a speech on the
decentralisation of NHS control last week.

said the Commission for Health Improvement would have a greater
inspection role, which would necessitate closer working, and “over
time closer organisational integration between the commission, the
[Social Services Inspectorate], the National Care Standards
Commission and the Audit Commission so that health and social care
services are subject to a common set of standards”.

Two days
later, responding to the report of the inquiry into children’s
heart surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Milburn told the
House of Commons: “We will take further steps at the earliest
opportunity to rationalise the number of bodies inspecting and
regulating health and social care.”

Leadbetter, president of the Association of Directors of Social
Services, said any rationalisation of the inspection and monitoring
of social care services would be welcome. Details would have to be
worked out, but the idea to bring together the four bodies was

Milburn’s decentralisation plans also included greater freedoms for
the best performing hospitals and primary care trusts.

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