The annual health check will be scrapped next year and replaced with 'periodic reviews' of commissioners and providers, the Care Quality Commission has announced.

The CQC, which takes over from the three health and social care regulators next April, has set out its proposals for assessing organisations in a consultation paper released today.

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said: "Our reviews will make sure people have meaningful information about services to help them make choices and exercise greater control over their care.

"They will also provide assurances about the safety and quality of services.

"Our reviews will identify where there are problems. We will also use what we learn from our reviews to help spread good practice and influence health and social care policy."

Standards

The document reveals that next financial year will be treated as a "transition year" before registration standards come into force in April 2010.

From April 2009, the aggregated quality of services score, used in the annual health check, will be dropped.

Instead, providers will be assessed against core standards, national priorities, financial management and on their use of the Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act.

The core standards assessments will take place mid-year, rather than at the end of the year, meaning self-declarations will be due in early November 2009.

Commissioning

Primary care trusts as commissioners will not need to fill in self-declaration forms.

Their success will be measured using information from the world class commissioning assurance system, as well as performance against tier one and two of the vital signs indicators.

There will also be a value for money assessment, including the Audit Commission's use of resources score.

In addition, the CQC will design an overarching framework spanning health and adult social care commissioning, to feed into the comprehensive area assessment.

PCTs and councils will be monitored in their roles as supervisory authorities under the Mental Capacity Act.

Scoring

The exact way organisations will be scored has not been decided yet and will be discussed as part of the consultation.

However, PCTs will be given a scorecard for their commissioning assessment, which may be brought together into an overall graded rating for the PCT as a whole.

Special reviews

The regulator has also drawn up a list of topics it would like to investigate next year, such as the impact of commissioning on health inequalities, whether services are addressing equality and human rights, and value for money.

Consultation

The consultation closes on 12 March 2009. The CQC will then publish its own response and agree its final approach, before developing detailed guidance.

To download the consultation document, go to www.cqc.org.uk