How we are regulated

Working together to get things right

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All hospital and social care centres in the UK must, by law, be inspected by government-approved inspectors to make sure they are doing a good job.

This applies to all care homes, centres and hospitals in the country – whether they’re run by the NHS, the independent sector or charities.

The inspectors’ job is to make sure that patients and residents receive care that’s safe and effective and that people are treated with compassion.

Inspectors usually arrive unannounced and afterwards they publish a report which contains “star ratings” to indicate what they’ve found.

Huntercombe has hospitals and centres in England and Scotland. The system operates slightly differently in different parts of the UK. In England, we’re inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Our two children’s residential services are overseen by Ofsted (though children’s mental health services are regulated by the CQC).

In Scotland, it’s the Care Inspectorate and Health Improvement Scotland.


The Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The CQC is the regulator for health and social care services in England. It’s the organisation that monitors all our hospitals and care homes in England apart from Granville Lodge and Stockton (both of which are overseen by Ofsted).

During an assessment, CQC inspectors ask patients, residents and families about their experiences of care. They also talk to healthcare staff and check that managers are doing a good job. Their findings are then published on the CQC website.

The CQC reports are also here on the Huntercombe website, accessible from each centre or hospital’s webpage. If a service isn’t meeting government standards, the CQC asks the hospital or centre manager to produce a plan of action for improvements.

The CQC also has certain powers. For example, it can:

  • Issue a warning notice, asking for improvements within a short period of time
  • Restrict the services a provider can offer
  • Prevent a centre or hospital from taking in any new residents or patients
  • Fine a hospital, centre or home

In extreme circumstances, the CQC has the power to close down centres, homes and hospitals and prosecute care providers.


If you have children, you’ll probably know that Ofsted regulates schools. But it’s also responsible for looking after children and family services. It’s the organisation that monitors our performance at Granville Lodge and Stockton.

Ofsted also regulates the schools inside the six mental health hospitals that we run for children and young people.

Ofsted’s job is to make sure that the young people in our care are looked after well and are kept safe.


Healthcare Improvement Scotland

HIS is the regulator for NHS and private healthcare in Scotland. It’s the organisation that monitors our brain injury centres and our mental health services for young people. The HIS is there to make sure healthcare providers deliver care that’s effective, safe and right for the particular patient.

Care Inspectorate

The Care Inspectorate is the regulator for social care and social work services in Scotland. It’s the organisation that monitors our specialist brain injury units and adult mental health centres.

The Care Inspectorate’s job is to make sure that everyone gets safe, high quality care that meets their needs.

If a centre is not doing things properly, the Care Inspectorate has very similar powers to the CQC to try to help homes and centres reach the right standard.

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Of course, we don’t just rely on the government to make sure we get things right. We have our own compliance team who visit our hospitals and centres, talk to patients and staff and make sure that we’re all doing the best we can. Every year, they publish evidence of what they find in our “quality accounts” which you can download here.