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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care providers in England. All providers of regulated activities must register with the CQC and follow a set of fundamental standards of safety and quality.
The fundamental standards describe the basic requirements that care providers, including care homes, should always meet, and set out the outcomes that services users should always expect.
The standards include requirements regarding the facilities and equipment care homes must have. One refers to premises and equipment, and requires that the provider must ensure that all premises and equipment are clean, secure, suitable for the purpose used, properly maintained and appropriately located for the purpose for which they are used.
A further standard refers to safe care and treatment and includes a requirement that equipment used by the provider is safe, used in a safe way and that sufficient quantities are available to ensure the safety of service users and to meet their needs.
The CQC inspects against the standards and has a range of enforcement powers that it can employ if it finds a provider is not following them.
Following inspection, the CQC rates providers on a four point scale - outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate. These ratings give patients and the public a fair, balanced and easy to understand assessment of performance and quality. Services rated inadequate receive help to improve, but any that are unable or unwilling to do so face closure.