Watchdog joins call for split regulation

The Healthcare Commission has joined the Commission for Social Care Inspection in warning against full-scale integration of the regulation of the two sectors (news, 24 November).

In its response to the government’s wider review of health and social care regulation, the commission, like the CSCI, emphasised key differences between the two sectors that would require a continued regulatory separation.

The government has proposed a unified health and social care regulator by 2008, but the commission suggested this should be a “federated” arrangement, with distinct health and social care elements, rather than a full-scale merger.

Echoing the CSCI, the commission emphasised that social care was means-tested, provided mainly by the independent sector and commissioned by elected councils, while health was free at the point of delivery, delivered mainly by the NHS and commissioned by appointed bodies.

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