Section 10I – Inspections of services provided under the health service
205.As part of the duty of furthering improvement in the quality of healthcare in Scotland, conferred by section 10A under this section, HIS may inspect any service provided under the health service. Such inspections are to be subject to a plan prepared in accordance with section 10L and which is approved by Scottish Ministers.
Section 10J – Inspections of independent health care services
206.HIS may inspect any independent health care service. The purposes of an inspection of independent health care services are to review and evaluate their effectiveness, to investigate particular aspects of a service and to encourage continuous improvement in the provision of those services. Subsection (3) provides that any service or combination of services in any part or all of Scotland may be inspected. This would enable for instance a themed inspection of independent health care services provided to older people. Such inspections are to be subject to a plan prepared in accordance with section 10L and which is approved by Scottish Ministers.
207.Subsection (5) provides that HIS may require a person who provides an independent health care service registered under the Act to supply it with any information to enable HIS to discharge its functions. This may include such aspects as pre-inspection questionnaires or other information. Subsection (7) makes provision for HIS to decide the form which any inspection will take, subject to any regulations made under section 10O. This will enable HIS to conduct inspections in a manner appropriate for the type of service being inspected.
Section 10K – Authorised persons
208.This section provides that any inspection must be carried out by a person authorised by HIS – an “authorised person” - and that such a person may carry out inspections of any or all independent health care services.
209.Subsection (3) provides powers for an authorised person to enter and inspect any premises being used to provide an independent health care service. Subsection (4) provides that any confidential information that person acquires during such an inspection may not be used or disclosed by that person other than for the purposes of the inspection, or if required under law or a court order or disclosed to the extent that is necessary for the purpose of protecting the welfare of a child or adult at risk or the prevention or detection of crime or prosecution of offenders. Confidential information for the purposes of the Act is information which can identify an individual and in respect of which a duty of confidentiality is owed to the individual in question.
Section 10L – Inspections: best regulatory practice
210.Subsections (1), (2) and (3) require HIS to develop a plan for carrying out inspections, including inspection of services which are subject to self evaluation, in accordance with best regulatory practice, that is, in a way which is transparent, accountable, proportionate and consistent. Subsection (4) requires HIS to have regard to any guidance issued by Scottish Ministers for the plan. Subsections (5) and (6) require HIS to review the plan, obtain Scottish Ministers’ approval for any revision of the plan and consult as appropriate when preparing or revising the plan.
Section 10M – Inspections at request of Scottish Ministers
211.This section provides that HIS must undertake an inspection of any service provided under the health service and any independent health care service at the request of the Scottish Ministers. Subsection (3) provides that an inspection or investigation is to be conducted in accordance with a timetable approved by the Scottish Ministers. Under this provision, for example, Scottish Ministers might request HIS to undertake an inspection of the services provided to people with mental illness across both NHS and private providers.
Section 10N – Inspections: reports
212.Subsection (1) requires HIS to prepare a report after carrying out an inspection of NHS or independent health care services and send a copy of the report to the person (or body) providing the service(s). Subsection (2) provides that HIS should give that person (or body) an opportunity to comment on a draft of that report. Subsection (3) provides that HIS must make the report available to the public and subsection (4) makes provision for regulation to make further provisions about the preparation, content and effect of reports and, in particular, makes provision specifying the circumstances in which HIS inspection reports may be subject to restricted access or withheld.
Section 10O– Regulations relating to inspections
213.Subsections (1) and (2) provide a power for regulations to make further provision on the detail of inspections at sections 10I, 10J and 10M - and for different types of inspection to be carried out for such services.
214.Subsection (3) provides a list, which is not exhaustive, of the issues which the regulations may address in relation to those inspections such as the frequency of such inspections, the persons who are authorised to conduct such inspection, the interviews and examinations which may be carried out in relation to such inspections, requiring information produced to be held and further disclosed in accordance with prescribed conditions and the creation of offences.
215.Subsection (4) provides a definition for “health records” as referred to in subsection (3)(e).