CQC signs new agreement to encourage sharing in the health and social care sector

Eight health and social care regulators and other bodies have signed a new agreement to help them share concerns with each other more effectively.

The ‘Emerging Concerns Protocol’ seeks to provide a clearly defined mechanism for the bodies, including the CQC, to share information and intelligence that may indicate risks to users of services, their carers, families or professionals.

Alongside CQC, other participants include General Medical Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and Health & Care Professions Council, among others.

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In a joint statement, the CQC said: “We know that sharing concerns at the right time can make it easier to notice that a problem is emerging. We believe that working together more effectively can reduce duplication by encouraging our organisations to come up with joint plans when we share similar concerns. This protocol will help ensure regulators are transparent with the public, providers and professionals about the way that we work together.

“The protocol formalises and strengthens existing arrangements for sharing emerging concerns between regulators. We will work together to review and evaluate the process to make sure that it works for providers, professionals and people who use services.”

In addition to the signatories, the General Dental Council is supporting the emerging concerns working group for the protocol, and will look to become a signatory in the coming weeks.

The protocol is an evolving agreement which looks to build on strong existing relationships, with both NHS England and NHS Improvement supporting the group.

The work was commissioned by the Health and Social Care Regulators’ Forum, which oversees its progress. The protocol has been developed by a working group and was piloted with operational staff from all organisations involved.

The protocol covers England only, the regulators with responsibility for regulating across the UK or Great Britain will continue to work collaboratively with the relevant national organisations in the home countries.

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