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New watchdog for superbugs

25th October 2007

The government is setting up a new watchdog body with a range of powers to tackle hospital superbugs.

MRSA1

The Care Quality Commission, which replaces the Commission for Social Care Inspection, Healthcare Commission and Mental Health Act Commission, will have the authority to close wards, order more frequent checks, impose fines, launch investigations and issue warnings.

The emphasis will be on safety and quality across health and adult social care services in the NHS and the independent sector and comes as the health service is struggling to meet targets for cutting MRSA and faces a rise in the rates of Clostridium difficile.

While many of the Quality Care Commission’s powers are already available, health ministers hope that by merging the responsibilities into one body it will lead to tougher action being taken.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said the emphasis reflects the fact tackling infection remained a challenge and added: “I am determined that we will take action where necessary to safeguard patients and ensure staff feel able to report concerns.

“The regulator will have tougher powers to inspect and even close wards in order to protect patients and service users. NHS staff, such as matrons, nurses and porters, who spend every day on the wards, need to feel able to report concerns to the new regulator.?

The British Medical Association said the NHS was suffering from too much reorganisation and expressed concern that only a few years after the Healthcare Commission was set up it was being abolished to make way for another new regulatory body.

 

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