What is the CQC?
The Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.
What does the CQC do?
The Care Quality Commission monitors, inspects and regulates care facilities and services to meet fundamental standards of quality and safety. Findings are published and performance ratings given depending on the type of service being inspected.
Who is regulated by the CQC?
NHS hospitals, independent hospitals, hospices, doctor’s surgeries, GP practices, walk-in centres, care homes, nursing homes, residential homes, dentists, ambulances, mental health services, care and support services for adults in their own homes (both personal and nursing care), children’s services, clinics, prison care facilities.
What is a CQC Assessment?
There are two types of CQC inspections which form a CQC assessment: a comprehensive inspection and a focused inspection.
A comprehensive inspection is a regular check used to make sure that care is being provided that is safe, caring, effective, responsive to people's needs and well-led. The frequency, and whether the facility is told beforehand, will depend on the service being inspected.
Focused inspections are smaller in scale than comprehensive inspections and look at something in more detail or an issue that has been raised during a comprehensive inspection. Focused inspections also occur if there’s a change in care provider circumstances.
A CQC assessment report will usually include a rating:
What is the CQC looking for during an assessment?
These are the five key questions that the CQC asks about all the care facilities that they assess:
- Are they safe?
- Are they effective?
- Are they caring?
- Are they responsive to people’s needs?
- Are they well led?
Their fundamental standards focus on:
- Person-centred care
- Dignity and respect
- Safeguarding from abuse
- Food and drink
- Good governance
- Fit and proper staff
- Duty of candour
- Display of ratings
Why do CQC carry out assessments?
To safeguard and protect health, wellbeing and human rights, the fundamentals for high-quality health and social care and to ensure that the standards of care remain high.
What happens during a CQC Assessment?
The inspector will explain to the senior team of the care facility about the purpose of the inspection and how they will communicate information about what they find out about the care facility. The inspection team talk to people who use the services, gather information from staff, observe care in action, look at processes, procedures and paperwork and observe the places where people are cared for.
At the end of the visit the inspector will provide feedback for the senior team, highlight any issues and identify any actions to take.
What happens after a CQC Assessment?
After a visit the Care Quality Commission creates a report based on the evidence found, which is published on their website. In most cases a report includes a rating and will set out the findings on each of the key questions for the different people who use the service. They make recommendations to help to improve ratings or continue to keep high standards.
The Care Quality Commission can create requirement notices or warning notices highlighting improvements that need to be made and by when. They can place a care provider in special measures, issue cautions, fines and where people in care may be in danger they can prosecute cases.
How can a care home prepare for a CQC Assessment?
A care home should be aware of all of its facts and figures and work to improve ongoing standards and quality of care. Before an inspection the CQC will look at various areas using CQC Insight. This analysis tool gathers together data about the care facility including services and registrations, ratings and scores such as Food Hygiene Rating Scores, notifications, health and safety, information about staff and management performance, and feedback from customers and other external sources.
“What to inspect when we inspect your service” – a quick guide from CQC that highlights what factors a care facility needs to be aware of.
www.careimprovementworks.org.uk - this website brings together resources to assess and strengthen the quality of care service and could provide help when preparing for a CQC inspection.
Where can I get more information about the Care Quality Commission and a CQC Assessment?