Since April 2009, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been responsible for
regulating standards of health and adult social care in England, as well as monitoring the operation of the Mental Health Act 1983. The latter function was previously performed by the Mental Health Act Commission (MHAC). This article compares the role and functions of both bodies in terms of their ability to provide a legitimate system of regulation and an effective safeguard for psychiatric patients who are deprived of their liberty. This paper is important, as there is very little published data to date on the work of the CQC and its predecessor, the MHAC. It is also necessary to evaluate changes to the regulatory landscape and compare the different regimes, to find out whether it has improved the protection and quality of care for mental health patients. The article concludes that the CQC does have the capacity to monitor detention, enforce standards and improve the quality of patient care, as long as it continues to endorse a commitment to human rights and service user involvement, to preserve the expertise and knowledge of visiting inspectors and to maintain accountability and independence from the State.
- Care Quality Commission, Mental Health Act Commission, Mental Health Act 1983, patient rights, monitoring detention, regulating mental health care