The Care Quality Commission confirmed today that it planned to appoint two chief inspectors to lead its work on hospitals and adult social care. The regulator said it was also considering the appointment of a third chief inspector, responsible for primary and integrated care.

The news comes after HSJ revealed a month ago the regulator was considering creating the two hospitals and social care chief inspector posts.

The regulator’s three year plan, published today, emphasised the CQC’s role was to be “firmly on the side of patients.” This would involve publishing better information for the public, including – as previously reported – ratings for services.

The CQC will introduce a programme for failing trusts to ensure immediate action is taken to protect patient, and plan to use information and evidence more effectively to predict, identify and respond to services that are failing.

There will also be a more thorough test for organisations applying to provide care services.

The plan also detailed changes to its inspection teams. In future the CQC will make sure its inspectors specialise in particular areas of care, and lead teams including clinical experts, alongside people with experience of care.

These specialist teams will be introduced over the coming year to carry out “in depth” reviews of providers with significant or long standing problems, and trusts applying for foundation status.

Chief executive David Behan said: “We recognise that quality care cannot be achieved by inspection and regulation alone – that lies with care professionals, clinical staff, providers and those who arrange and fund local services – but we will set a bar below which no provider must fall and a rating which will encourage and drive improvement.”