CQC Inspections update
All providers will be aware that CQC has stopped undertaking routine inspections during the period of the pandemic, limiting on-site inspections to cases of high risk. Instead, their monitoring function has been carried out using the Emergency Support Framework, which has enabled them to monitor services without physically attending the relevant location.
CQC is now beginning to plan a return to carrying out inspections. Inspections of services perceived as at higher risk are planned for the summer, with a return to routine inspections of lower risk services in the autumn.
It is likely that inspections will be focused on units where there have been high levels of concern raised, particularly where CQC has received an increased level of contact through their National Contact Centre. Contact with the Centre allows concerns about care to be raised directly with the regulator. During the period 2 March to 31 May 2020, CQC received 2612 calls from social care staff, a 55% increase above the number of calls that they would normally receive.
It is not difficult to anticipate that inspections are more likely to take place early at sites where there has been a high rate of complaints to CQC during the height of the pandemic. Common issues raised with them include management of infection control, restrictions imposed on Mental Health Act patients (particularly in relation to confinement of patients to their rooms) and general quality of care concerns during the recent unique circumstances that the country has faced.
What can providers do in preparation for the resumption of inspections?
Very simple points include looking at your usual systems and the evidence that you would normally wish to produce in readiness for a CQC inspection. If because of the pressures and limits on staff resources over the period of the pandemic to date these are not as complete as they should be, then it’s worth focusing on them now. There is no reason not to play catch up as soon as possible. For example, are audits up to date? Have care plans been reviewed? What is the position on training-it may well have been paused but what steps are in place to address training needs or resume your training programme?
It is also worth looking at any complaints received by providers directly to ensure that you have addressed the areas of concern raised, as they are obvious targets for any inspection.
This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.