Headlines: January 30th, 2003

In a move to further reduce the boundaries between health and social care, two new inspectorates are to be created. Although the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (CHAI) and the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) will have separate structures, they will have a joint responsibility to provide independent inspection and assessment of the management, provision and quality of all public and private health and social care in England.The inspectorates’ work programmes will be developed in parallel and one of their major concerns will be promoting joint working. As well as streamlining inspection arrangements they will strengthen the accountability of those responsible for the commissioning and delivery of health and social services.

Lord Hunt, lead Minister for CHAI, said: “These new bodies will be the authorative, independent judges of the quality and efficiency of health and social care and will be a driving force for their continuous improvement. They will provide patients with an assessment of the quality of care provided and how public funds are being spent. Better regulation has a key role in driving up the quality of services.”

Health Minister Jacqui Smith, who leads on CSCI said: “The creation of CSCI will mean that for the first time there will be a single independent body to ensure joined up and effective regulation of both independent and public sector social care services.”

The new bodies aim to be operational by April 2004.