Health and Social Care Act 2008
The primary focus of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 was to create a new regulator whose purpose was to provide registration and inspection of health and adult social care services together for the first time, with the aim of ensuring safety and quality of care for service users.
The Care Quality Commission was established by statute, with enhanced powers to regulate primary care services, including hospitals, GP practices, Dental practices, Ambulance Services and Care Homes. These powers include failing registration, fines and even closing practices down which do not adhere to the Essential Standards in Quality and Safety. This cohesive approach has led to the CQC becoming one of the most powerful regulatory bodies in the UK.
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 made minor changes to the 2008 Act, but for the purposes of Health and Adult Social Care professionals looking at the registration and inspection regime, this only amounted to terminological clarification, a strengthening of the relationship between the CQC and Monitor and the establishment of The Healthwatch England Committee as part of the CQC. In addition to this the following institutions have been abolished: The Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator, The National Information Governance Board for Health and Social Care, The National Patient Safety Agency and The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.
Various statutory instruments (subordinate legislation created by Government departments under powers conferred by primary legislation, which here is the Health and Social Care Act 2008) have come into effect since the 2008 Act was passed, to give greater clarity to the legislation. First and foremost amongst these is the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010. It concentrates on defining the types of services regulated and the activities for which they must be registered to provide. Information is also supplied about the standards which must be maintained in order to legally become a provider of services. This statutory instrument built upon the Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009, which also sought to determine how providers could register to provide services.