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Published on 7 November 2007

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New watchdog to monitor hospitals


Gordon Brown has unveiled a new watchdog which will have the power to fine hospitals and close wards in his first Queen’s Speech.

The Care Quality Commission will merge the operations of the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, and the Mental Health Act Commission.

It will also have a stronger remit to “inspect, investigate and intervene” where hospitals are failing to meet standards on infections and cleanliness.

The Health and Social Care Bill will also seek to strengthen professional regulation following the inquiry into the Harold Shipman murders.

Medical organisations will also be required to use the lower, civil standard of proof and healthcare bodies will be made to appoint a “responsible officer” to work with the General Medical Council on cases of poor professional performance by doctors.

It is one of 28 Bills and draft Bills included in Mr Brown’s first full
legislative programme.

Downing Street said the move promises “a healthcare system organised around the needs of the patient”, and legislation to create a health and social care regulator to ensure “clean and safe services and high-quality care”.

It added the other measures announced will “provide the best chances for people to make the most of themselves and their potential”, and for “a Britain that realises all the talents of all the people”.

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Downing Street

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