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Our statutory role

The Healthcare Commission was created by the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003. Our legal name is the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection, and we began operating on 1 April 2004. This page lists our main statutory duties under the Health and Social Care Act.

Our main duties in England

  • Assessing the management, provision and quality of NHS healthcare and public health services.
  • Reviewing the performance of all NHS trusts and award an annual performance rating to each trust.
  • Regulating the independent healthcare sector through registration, inspection, monitoring complaints and enforcement activities.
  • Publishing information about the state of healthcare in England.
  • Investigating serious failures in healthcare services.
  • Independently reviewing patients' complaints about NHS services that have not been resolved by the trusts involved.
  • Promoting the coordination of reviews and assessments carried out by ourselves and other regulatory organisations.

When carrying out these duties, the Healthcare Commission must pay particular attention to:

  • The availability of, access to, quality and effectiveness of healthcare.
  • The economy and efficiency of the provision of healthcare.
  • The availability and quality of the information about healthcare that is provided to the public.
  • The need to safeguard and promote the rights and welfare of children and the effectiveness of measures taken to do so.

Our duties in Wales

Our duties in Wales relate mainly to our national reviews of particular NHS services and our annual report to Parliament on the state of healthcare in England and Wales. The Healthcare Inspectorate Wales is responsible for inspecting and investigating the NHS in Wales, while the Care Standards Inspectorate Wales inspects independent healthcare organisations.