The Commission for Social Care Inspection will merge with the Healthcare Commission and Mental Health Act Commission to form a single regulator by 2008, a Department of Health consultation paper published today proposes.
It suggests a common system of registration across health and social care building on the work of existing inspection agencies.
Although the new agency will be formed in 2008 it is not expected to be fully operational until 2009/10.
The paper suggest reducing the level of central regulation as the reforms are introduced, with further information on how this will happen expected over the next six months.
Launching the document, health minister Lord Warner said: “A single regulator will help ensure patients are protected wherever they are in the health or adult social care system.”
Consultation runs until 28 February 2007.