CQC to Restart Inspections

The following news article appeared on the CQC website on the 17 June ‘‘Regulation during COVID-19 why raising concerns about care is more important than ever”

The main focus of the article was the increase in staff contacting CQC with concerns and how it is important to encourage staff to speak up. At the start of the article,  CQC states how they have continued to inspect in response to concerns raised. The article goes on to say that the CQC will adapt the ESF (Emergency Support Framework) and this will be used alongside responsive visits. Further,  the article states that the CQCplans to restart inspections to lower risk services from the autumn.

CQC has been under some pressure from the residents and relative’s association with an article in the Guardian in May stating concerns about people being cared for in homes rated inadequate or requires improvement and whether people are safe during COVID 19 when inspectors are not inspecting. The CQC did develop the ESF but not all families were assured that this was enough.

What does the statement about restarting inspections mean?

Well, I think that where any concerns were raised during the ESF process or from other sources and a  care home is judged high risk, a responsive visit is likely to be planned in over the summer. CQC states they will adapt the ESF as the impact of the pandemic reduces. The use of the words ‘Responsive visits’ rather than an inspection is interesting. It is possible that a lot more planning will take place using the ESF and all sources available and then inspectors will plan the exact areas to focus on when they visit, rather than covering all the Key Lines Of Enquiry (KLOE). However, calling it a responsive visit rather than an inspection does still mean a rating could change.

Services rated good or outstanding which have not been inspected for some years are likely to be planned to start being inspected from Autumn. Of course, due to the cessation of routine inspections on the 16 March in response to lockdown, there will be a backlog. A large number of good or outstanding homes were late being inspected, beyond their due inspection date before lockdown and that number has increased by those not inspected since the 16 March.

During the pandemic, it was always an expectation that providers and managers would continue to provide safe care. There were a few adaptations such as fast track DBS and more online training but the responsibilities of registered persons under the Health and Social Care Act remained.  Given the restarting of inspections, now is the time to review that you have everything in place and you can evidence what you have done during normal times and in response to the pandemic to protect and care for people and your staff.

If you would like support to carry out a pre-inspection audit or with any other aspect of your service please do contact Fulcrum care.