The government published The future regulation of health and adult social care in England: response to consultation in October 2007, which built on existing proposals outlined in 2006.
The document was largely consistent with earlier proposals. The government intended to introduce a common system of registration, compliance and enforcement across the NHS and independent sector. For the first time, the new regulator would have powers to close providers. The new independent regulator of health and social care was to be called the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The CQC was to bring together the functions of the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission. Its functions would include:
- monitoring and assessing providers against a set of registration requirements
- escalating serious service failures using discretionary sanctions including de-registration and the conduct of additional inspections
- publishing information and reports
- reviewing and safeguarding the rights of patients subject to the Mental Health Act
- fulfilling the role of monitoring the operation of the deprivation of liberty safeguards of the Mental Capacity Act 2005
- publishing an independent assessment of both providers and commissioners
- providing an annual report to Parliament on the state of health and adult social care and the operation of the Mental Health Act
- carrying out general service reviews, studies and research.
Originally, the government had intended for the CQC to take on an arbitration role in competition decisions. Following the consultation exercise, this was deemed inappropriate: instead, the Department of Health would create an independent panel to consider issues that could not be resolved locally.