When is the right time to question a medical decision?
On 09 March 2021, the Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) and Equality and Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”) published a new memorandum of understanding agreement (“the MoU”). The MoU seeks to increase the effectiveness of the two organisations’ work in safeguarding the wellbeing and rights of people receiving health and social care in England, through developing a supportive framework and strategic partnership.
The MoU sets out that whilst the CQC and EHRC recognise that the two organisations have distinct roles and are independent of one another, they also recognise that their work may cover common ground and address similar themes requiring a need for cooperation. In particular, the CQC will work collaboratively with the EHRC, in accordance with the terms of the MoU, with the aim to deliver maximum benefits to those who are using health and social care services and address issues of equality in the sector.
The terms of the MoU provide that the two organisations will look to achieve their goal through utilising processes such as: sharing knowledge and expertise, joint inquiries and research projects, cooperation on stakeholder activities such as joint events, cooperation on advice guidance and policy, and joint external communications through providing joint government responses.
Key focus areas for the two organisations’ joint working are said to include:
The MoU explains that both parties will be open and transparent when working collaboratively and rely on the best available data. The working relationship is characterised in the MoU as one of “regular contact” and it is outlined that both ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ meetings will take place at different levels, in addition to quarterly meetings between the leads of the two organisations, where important information will be shared, and any issues relating to equality and human rights will be discussed.
The MoU is another example of Principle 4.2 of the Regulators Code 2014 being put into practice, which provides that when the law allows, regulators should agree secure mechanisms to share information with each other about businesses and other bodies they regulate, to help target resources and activities and minimise duplication.
We look forward to seeing the positive impact that this new, and important, working relationship might have on protecting people who are at risk of having their human rights breached, and addressing issues of equality in health and social care services.
Shannett Thompson is a Partner in the Regulatory Team having trained in the NHS and commenced her career exclusively defending doctors. She provides regulatory advice predominantly in the health and social care and education sectors. Shannett has vast experience advising regulated individuals, businesses such as clinics and care homes and students in respect of disciplinary investigations. She is a member of the private prosecutions team providing advice to individuals, business and charities in respect of prosecutions were traditional agencies are unwilling or unable to act. In addition Shannett has built up a significant niche in advising investors and businesses in the cannabis sector.
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