No CQC registration for personal assistants or day care providers

Personal assistants and day care providers who provide personal care will not be regulated by the Care Quality Commission, the Department of Health has confirmed.

Its long-awaited framework for the registration of health and adult social care providers in England, which comes into force in April 2010, will also lead to the deregistration of a number of adult placement services which are currently regulated.

The news comes ahead of the transfer of the Commission for Social Care Inspection, Healthcare Commission and Mental Health Act Commission’s functions to the CQC tomorrow.

Responding yesterday to a consultation on the issue, the DH said services would be registered by the activity they provide – such as personal or nursing care – not, as at present, by the sort of organisation that they are – such as a domiciliary care agency.

Personal assistants

As proposed in the consultation paper and in line with current practice, services purchased by direct payment or personal budget users from personal assistants, family members or friends will not be regulated, even if they include personal care.

The DH said this would allow users to purchase provision that best suited their needs or lifestyles, in line with the personalisation agenda. The same approach will also cover the extension of direct payments to NHS services, under the current Health Bill, with nurses hired directly by service users not being required to register with the CQC.

Day care excluded

The DH also retained consultative proposals to exclude day care settings that provide personal care from registration, on the basis that users are likely to be at relatively low risk, though it promised to keep this under review. Day care is currently unregulated in England, though it is in Scotland.

Some shared lives services – formerly known as adult placements – will cease to be registered under the new system because they do not provide personal care.

Mental health

Specialist mental health services provided by healthcare professionals will be registered by the CQC but those provided by other professionals, such as social workers or psychologists, will not, though this will also be kept under review.

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said: “The new framework will be proportionate in that decisions on who needs to register with the new commission will be based on the level of risk to the people who use services, where the risk lies, and what contribution the commission can make to ensure these risks are well managed.”

The DH is consulting on draft regulations that will enact the registration framework until 29 May. The CQC will develop guidance for providers on compliance with the registration framework.

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