Care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced that it is working with mental health charity Mind on a new initiative to help people report poor care.

In addition, the regulator has announced that it will be appointing a deputy chief inspector of hospitals to take responsibility for its regulation of mental health services.

The CQC will train the Mind helpline team so they can talk to people about how to share concerns with the regulator. Information from members of the public about the care they receive is used by the CQC to inform where, when and what to inspect.

Sophie Corlett, director of external relations at Mind, said: “We’re here to make sure anyone with a mental health problem has somewhere to turn to for advice and support. The Mind helpline answers 40,000 calls a year. We are looking forward to working with CQC to raise their profile with people and help them share information about their care.”

Next month, chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards will publish proposals on changes to the way the CQC inspects other types of mental health services, including how it will integrate its regulatory work with monitoring of people’s rights under the Mental Health Act.

Richards plans to appoint a deputy chief inspector with mental health expertise as soon as possible to assist him in this.

Monitoring the act

Monitoring of the Mental Health Act will be integrated into the CQC’s inspections wherever possible, but the regulator will continue to run a programme of visits to people who are subject to the Mental Health Act to speak with them in private as it is required to do under the Act.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb added: “I am determined that mental health is treated with as much importance as physical health by the NHS and the health regulators.

“The appointment of a new deputy chief inspector with expertise in mental health at the CQC is central to this because it will ensure that the same rigorous inspection standards are applied to mental health as other NHS services. A named individual will be responsible for leading specialist inspection teams which can highlight good care and root out poor services.”