The Health Secretary has given up a range of powers over the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to allow it to carry out investigations more easily.
The CQC will no longer need to ask for approval to carry out an investigation into a hospital or care home.
The proposals will also remove the Secretary of State for Health’s power to direct the CQC on the content of its annual report.
Also, the new roles of Chief Inspector of Hospitals, General Practice and Adult Social Care will be enshrined in law by inseting them into the Health and Social Care Act 2008 – which established the CQC.
According to the government, this will ensure individuals in the roles can speak up for patients without fear of “political interference”.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “The Chief Inspector must be the nation’s whistleblower in chief. We will legislate in the Care Bill to give the CQC statutory independence, rather like the Bank of England has over interest rates. The welfare of patients is too important for political meddling and our new legislation will make sure Ministers always put patients first.”
Under the proposals, the House of Lords will consider whether to amend the Health and Social Care Act 2008, to remove the Secretary of State’s powers to dictate which organisations the CQC should inspect, how it should carry out inspections and how it will write up its findings in a report.
Professor Steve Field was appointed as Chief Inspector of General Practice in August Professor, Sir Mike Richards was appointed as Chief Inspector of Hospitals in May and Andrea Sutcliffe was appointed as Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care in July.