Monthly column for providers and professionals working in primary medical and dental services from Dr Rosie Benneyworth, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care

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This month I’m talking about our newly launched regulatory sandbox and how we want it to support our approach to innovation. And giving an update on our latest mythbusters.

At CQC we’re keen to support innovative service delivery that is safe and delivers high quality care for people. We want to work in partnership with providers and innovators to ensure that regulation isn’t a barrier to innovation and providers are able to develop the right services for the people who use them.

To help us in this ambition, and supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through its Regulators’ Pioneer Fund, we’ve launched a regulatory sandbox, providing a safe space where we can work with providers to develop our regulatory approach to innovative types of service delivery.

The sandbox will give us an opportunity to explore what good quality care looks like when new and innovative approaches are being used, what this means for CQC registration and how we need to adapt our approach to regulation.

We also hope that this will give providers that are developing or using innovative service models an opportunity to learn from one another and influence how the wider health and social care sector responds to innovation.

The first area we’ll be testing through the new regulatory sandbox will be digital clinical triage services, across a range of service types including primary care. We will be looking at services that deliver triage through a digital method, including accessing specialist advice and clinical decision support, standalone services supporting clinicians or services where triage is one part of a wider telehealth service.

This follows from, and will build on, work we did earlier this year to develop additional prompts for triage apps used by online primary care providers.

We are still looking for applicants to join this round of work in the regulatory sandbox, so if you’re involved in delivering digital clinical triage we’d love to hear from you. You can find more information about the work and how to express an interest in joining on our website.

In future rounds we hope to use the regulatory sandbox to look at the use of artificial intelligence in radiology, pathology and other diagnostic services, and how introductory agencies and home care agencies can support and manage autonomous personal carers.

The regulatory sandbox is one way we’re working to support and encourage innovation that improves the quality of care. We’d also like to hear from you to better understand what providers think our overall approach should be to assessing innovation.

We’re asking for your feedback on our new digital engagement platform around these questions:

  • What is your experience of the way in which CQC assesses care, and the impact that has on innovation?
  • What more do you think we should be doing to assess how well providers are innovating (if anything)?
  • Are there other ways CQC should be encouraging innovation and the effective deployment of new technologies in care?

You can sign up to the platform here, and find the project to feed back on innovation here. I look forward to hearing your views!

Across August we’ve updated five mythbusters for GP services, covering:

I hope these are useful.

Have a great month everyone,


We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

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