The Care Quality Commission has today (16 March) suspended all routine inspections with immediate effect.
The Commission has published a letter to practices and other providers online, notifying them of the suspension.
Ian Trenholm, chief executive of CQC, said in a statement: ‘During this period, our priority will be to support those who deliver health and social care to keep people safe during this global health emergency.
‘We will therefore be stopping routine inspections from today.
‘It may still be necessary to use our inspection powers in a very small number of cases when there is clear evidence of harm, such as allegations of abuse.’
The watchdog added that it was also offering ‘the return of clinically qualified CQC special advisors to the frontline to help with the wider national response’, as well as seconding staff to the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and NHS England.
The Royal College of GPs welcomed the move, saying it would enable GPs to ‘dedicate their time’ to providing frontline care during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Earlier this month, the watchdog had said that ‘most inspections will continue’ despite the worsening situation across the UK.