The Care Quality Commission (CQC) makes sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and encourages care services to improve.

It is England’s regulator of care. The CQC monitors, inspects and regulates services. It has powers to act when it finds poor care.

When it assesses a service, it asks five key questions. Is the service safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led? 

Waiting lists

As waiting lists have risen, the CQC has become increasingly concerned about their impact on patients. 

Last year, the CQC’s annual adult inpatient survey found that two in five (41%) people felt their health deteriorated while they were on a waiting list to be admitted to hospital.

To check what hospitals are doing to improving waiting times and the experience of waiting, inspectors use a check list that focuses on how responsive a hospital is. The list is:

  • Person-centred care
  • Care provision, integration, and continuity
  • Providing information
  • Listening to and involving people
  • Fairness in access to care
  • Fair experiences and outcomes for all patients
  • Planning for the future.


What the CQC wants to see to show how responsive the healthcare provide is, are the following: 

  • The healthcare provider understands the health and care needs of people and communities it serves.
  • Patients and the local community are actively involved in planning care that meets their needs.
  • Care, support and treatment are easily accessible and this includes physical access to locations where care is provided.
  • Patients can access care in ways that meet their personal circumstances and services consider things like a person’s mental health needs or if they have learning disabilities.
  • It’s easy to access information, advice and advocacy if you’re a patient, a carer or staff member supporting patients. Access to information and advice helps patient manage and understand their care and treatment.
  • The provider encourages patients and carers to give feedback, which they act on and use to improve services.
  • The provider practices partnership working with patients and communities to make sure care and treatment meets the diverse needs of communities.


In addition to inspections, the CQC uses what it hears from people who use services to get an overall picture of a service’s performance, including waiting lists. They include feedback from families, carers and advocates for people who use services.

The CQC uses feedback in a few ways. It may:

  • Contact a provider to raise an issue or seek a response
  • Add the information to an ongoing inspection
  • Raise a safeguarding alert with the local authority.

As the regulator, it has wide ranging powers and can:

  • Ask a care provider to give a response to feedback
  • Meet with the managers to discuss feedback
  • Carry out an urgent inspection or bringing forward a planned inspection.

Share your care

The Patients Association works in partnership with the CQC to enable patients and carers to give feedback about services – including long waits to be seen or the support offered while waiting. We do this through our Tell us about your care partnership with the CQC

Last year, we shared feedback from more than 200 people with the CQC through this partnership. If you would like one of our helpline team to share your experiences with the CQC, then get in touch by calling 0800 345 7115. If you’re keen for us to share information with the CQC, you will need to include the name of the hospital or GP surgery where you (or the person you are calling on behalf of) received care, including the local area and postcode.

You can also email us on [email protected]. We can share information anonymously or give the full details - whatever you are happy with.