Core services are the services most trusts provide. For our Trust, the CQC provides ratings for the following core services:

  • Acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units
  • Community-based mental health services for adults of working age
  • Community-based mental health services for older people
  • Community health services for children, young people and families
  • Community mental health services for people with a learning disability and autism
  • Community services for adults 
  • End of life care
  • Forensic inpatient / secure services
  • Mental health crisis services and health-based places of safety
  • Specialist community mental health services for children and young people
  • Wards for older people with mental health problems
  • Wards for people with learning disabilities or autism

We would encourage all staff to speak to CQC inspectors if they have the opportunity to. Let them know:

  • How good the service is your team provides
  • What you are proud of
  • What your patients and service users like most about your service
  • The quality improvements your team has made this year
  • The new ways of working your team has tried
  • The areas your team is currently trying to improve, including why and how you are doing this

You do not need to only answer the questions inspectors pose. You should be promoting and showing off the services you provide. You should show them how passionate and caring your team is. If you have introduced something new and it has been recognised internally or externally - show it off!

If you can't answer a question an inspector asks, don't guess or make something up. Let them know you can't answer, but do tell them who you would ask to find out the answer. Inspectors don't expect you to know everything, but they do expect you to know who you would go to if you were unsure about something.

If you don't understand the question an inspector is asking you, don't be afraid to ask them what it means, or for more information. You might find you can answer the question if it is phrased differently, or if you have more information about what they mean.

If the CQC inspector is speaking to you on your own and you are finding answering their questions difficult or you are getting a bit flustered, you can always ask them if a colleague can join you for support.

Inspectors want to make the experience a good one for staff but do understand some staff may be a bit nervous with them being there so will be happy for a colleague to join you.

No, you should treat your patients or service users in the same way you would look after them normally. If a CQC inspector arrives while you are with a patient or service user, please politely ask them to wait, or suggest someone else they could speak to.

If there are any particular rules about your ward or service that you follow normally, please make the CQC aware of these when they arrive.

You aren't expected to cancel any planned team meetings during the CQC visit. Inspectors may ask to observe your meetings, so do just go ahead as normal if this is the case.

Yes, CQC inspectors are permitted to access any areas of your service. If you work in a building which is also occupied by other organisations, such as in the community, let the CQC know which parts of the building are used by our Trust.

Yes, but only if the patient or service user is happy to speak with them. Please introduce the CQC inspector to the patient or service user and explain why the inspector would like to speak to them. 

We will be displaying posters at sites which may be visited by the CQC to let patients and service users know in advance that inspectors may be visiting. 

We do not know whether inspectors will accompany staff on home visits during the inspection. If the CQC project team is notified in advance of any planned home visits, we will make services aware.

If there are any patients or service users the CQC should not approach, politely let them know the reason why this is the case. 

Yes, CQC inspectors are permitted to access both paper and electronic medical or care records for any patient. They do not require the patient's consent to view the record. You can find out more about their rights to access medical records on the CQC website

Inspectors should only ask for and access the parts of the medical or care records necessary for their regulatory purpose, and should look at records on site wherever possible. They are permitted to make copies of records and to keep a note of which records they have reviewed. 

If you have any questions about information governance, contact the Information Governance Team on 01925 664485 or email:

Be honest and tell them you have not had the training. Let them know if you have already booked onto a course, and tell them when you are due to attend it. If you can access the training online, let them know when you plan to have it done by. Do let the CQC know if you have already done this training at your previous workplace and are just waiting to refresh it. You can also let the CQC know if you have done other activities while waiting to attend your training, such as on-the-job training, peer support, reading a relevant policy or procedure, or discussing the issues in a team meeting.