One of the problems that was highlighted following the Stafford Hospital inquiry in February was the way hospitals in England are monitored.

As a result of this the Quality Care Commission, which inspects hospitals in England, has launched a new hospital inspection regime in England. Its ambition is to expose poor and mediocre care and to drive up standards.

18 inspections will take place before the end of 2013. Croydon Health Services NHS Trust is the first to be visited followed by Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. Some visits will be announced, some not. Some will take part at the weekend and at night.

The inspection teams are larger – about 30 people are taking part in the Croydon visit. Their specialisms are broader as well. Practising doctors, surgeons, nurses, student nurses and members of the public will make up the teams.

Each inspection will cover departments in A&E, surgery, critical care, medical care, paediatrics, maternity, palliative care and outpatients. The visits will take 2 days.

The outcome of the inspections will be published with Trusts being given a rating “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement” and “adequate”. The reports will be published one month after the inspection has finished. Every acute trust in England should have been visited by the end of 2015.