12 February 2021

RCPath and Care Quality Commission sign Memorandum of Understanding.

The Care quality Commission (CQC) and the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) have today published a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement.

The agreement sets out how the College will work with the CQC to:

  • safeguard the wellbeing of the people receiving health and social care in England
  • promote patient safety and support improvements in care
  • coordinate activity and use our resources effectively.

The Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. Its purpose is to make sure health and care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and to encourage them to improve. 

Both organisations share a concern for the quality and safety of health and care services, and recognise that the development of models of health and care service delivery requires closer cooperation. The MoU confirms that we will share information about the quality of pathology services. This includes any concerns or evidence of safety risks.

Commenting on the publishing of the MoU, Dr Berenice Lopez, RCPath Clinical Director for Safety and Quality, said, ‘Pathologists and their laboratories are at the heart of patient care. Promoting excellence in clinical standards in pathology and supporting patient safety is core to all we do. Working more closely with the CQC will help to join up action to improve quality and safety in laboratory medicine.’

The sharing of information will:

  • enable CQC inspectors to have formal access to RCPath to raise queries about specific providers or services
  • allow CQC inspectors to seek advice from RCPath if actions are needed to support improvement or to ensure patient safety
  • inform the focus for CQC’s assessment of pathology services and any areas that need specific attention
  • alert CQC to cases where measures taken to address persistent poor performance in technical external quality assurance by a pathology service have failed, despite intervention and support from RCPath’s Quality Assurance in Pathology Committee
  • Enable RCPath to seek advice from the CQC if actions to ensure standards of care and good governance of pathology services are required.

The agreement will be regularly reviewed to make sure it is relevant, up to date and effective.