A TEAM of up to 25 inspectors, including doctors and nurses, will descend on Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital for an inspection.

From February 24 the Headington hospital will be one of the first in the country to be inspected under a new Care Quality Commission (CQC) regime.

The inspectors will include experts, doctors and nurses and patient representatives.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (OUHT), which runs the hospital, has welcomed the inspection because it needs to be visited by CQC before it can attain Foundation Trust status. That will give it more control over its budgets.

CQC spokesman Nick Kerswell revealed details of the inspection at a joint health overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Thursday.

He said: “We know that OUHT will be inspected in pathway two (the second tranche of inspections) in February.

“That will be led by the head of hospital inspections on the ground, along with an expert team.

“With hospitals, we split the inspection areas into eight – A&E, critical and intensive care, surgical care, medical care, outpatients, maternity and family planning, paediatrics and end of life care.

“Depending on the intelligence we get beforehand, we will target the inspection.”

The areas chosen for detailed inspection will depend on information from the public beforehand.

Mr Kerswell added: “We have chosen to inspect OUHT among the first inspections because of their aspirations for (foundation trust status).

“There will be a big team of inspectors, not only CQC but also specialist very senior clinicians, nurses, junior doctors, members of the public – a team of 20, perhaps 25, people, along with analysts and support workers.”

The CQC was forced to make changes to its inspection regime after criticism nationally that it had failed to spot failings at Mid Staffordshire and Morecambe Bay.

The organisation’s inspectors previously went into all organisations, from dentists surgeries to acute hospitals, but they have now been split into three specialties – hospitals, adult care and primary care.

The CQC is bringing back an overall ratings system, meaning all health and social care institutions will be rated outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

OUHT had hoped to gain Foundation Trust status by autumn 2013, but this has been delayed by at least 12 months due to the changes to the CQC inspections.

The change to Foundation Trust status will allow OUHT to retain its surpluses each year, currently about £8m a year.

At the moment these have to go to the Government.

OUHT chief executive Sir Jonathan Michael said: “We asked the CQC to consider our trust in their next round of inspections as we want to continue with our application for FT as soon as possible.

“A lot of work has gone into preparing for this process.”

The John Radcliffe was inspected by the CQC last February when patient care, staffing, cleanliness and support for workers all met the grade.

Previous inspections, in 2011, raised concerns about staff shortages, patient waiting times and food.