NHS England and NHS Improvement have blamed a proposed integration of the two national bodies as the reason they did not sign up to a new protocol sharing concerns about poor care.

Last week, eight regulators including the Care Quality Commission, Nursing and Midwifery Council and the General Medical Council announced they had agreed a deal on how they would share and act on emerging concerns that might affect patient care.

NHS England and NHS Improvement, who were part of the original working group that helped design the protocol, did not sign up.

Sources told HSJ the original intention was for both organisations to sign up, but in a statement to HSJ the national commissioning and provider organisations suggested the work on integrating the two organisations meant they could not yet sign up to the new process.

Despite repeated requests neither organisation offered a more detailed explanation as to why the integration work meant they could not join other regulators in agreeing how they would share concerns about care sooner.

The new protocol is designed to tackle concerns that regulators do not share concerns about poor care quickly enough which in the past has contributed to scandals including poor care at the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, maternity failings at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust and management failings at Liverpool Community Health Trust.

The agreements sets out the process staff from each national organisation will follow where concerns need to be shared.

A joint NHS Improvement and NHS England statement to HSJ said: “NHS Improvement and NHS England have supported the emerging concerns working group and support its implementation.

“We are keen to revisit the protocol once the outcome of our joint venture has concluded. In the meantime, we will continue to work with other organisations to ensure concerns about care are responded to and learnt from.”

A spokeswoman said the two organisations would revisit the protocol in the future.