Cynthia Bower warns care providers on enforcement

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will not back away from taking enforcement action against social care and health providers, its chief executive has warned.

Cynthia Bower (pictured)  made the statement as the CQC – which will begin work in April 2009 – launched a consultation on its approach to enforcement. The regulator said it would aim for enforcement to be consistent, transparent and proportionate.

Bower said she had spoken to social care provider umbrella bodies about the issue, and added: “What I haven’t picked up from anyone in the sector is any great concern that enforcement powers are used inappropriately.”

The Health and Social Care Act 2008, which set up the CQC, gives it enforcement powers not held by the Healthcare Commission and Commission for Social Care Inspection, which will merge into the new body next year.

These powers include: issuing a warning notice, issuing a financial penalty notice instead of prosecution, and suspending registration.

These will not come into force for social care until April 2010. Providers will be subject to current provisions until that date, including having conditions placed on registration, having it cancelled or facing prosecution.

The consultation closes on 16 January 2009 and will be followed by a more detailed consultation on enforcement.

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