What is a CQC inspection?

Any facility that provides health care or adult social care service that are regulated activities under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, you must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates against the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010 and the CQC (Registration) Regulations 2009. These regulations outline the required standards of quality and safety (sometimes referred to as the ‘Government standards’) that people who use health and social care services have a right to expect.

CQC inspections will focus on the quality and safety of services. The inspector will evaluate these fundamental elements:

  • Cleanliness and infection control Met this standard

  • Safety, availability and suitability of equipment Action needed

  • Staffing Met this standard

  • Supporting workers Met this standard

  • Records

The inspection team will link the evidence from the inspection with a scope of other information including

  • What people, carers and staff say

  • Complaints

  • Information from stakeholders

  • Service users and staff surveys

  • Peer review schemes

  • National databases

This will allow the CQC to decide on a rating for the organisation. These will be:

  1. Outstanding

  2. Good

  3. Requires improvement; or

  4. Inadequate

With the former in mind, we understand It can be daunting for care providers to think that a Care Quality Commission inspector could be on their doorstep at very short notice - usually in as little as 48 hours (sometimes without any prior notice).

The good news is that despite the short notice, care providers can prepare for the visit. This article frames how CQC check your facilities compliance with government standards and how you can make sure you're fully prepared for a CQC inspection - as, these are normally unannounced.

Understanding the assessment framework work

To get to the heart of patients’ experiences of care, the focus of CQC inspections is on the quality and safety of services, based on the things that matter to people. The CQC will always ask the following five questions of services:

Is it safe?

Safeguarding and protection from abuse

Is it effective?

Assessing needs and delivering evidence-based treatment

Is it caring?

Kindness, respect and compassion

Is it responsive?

Person-centred care

Is it well-led?

Management of risk and performance

Getting prepared for your visit

The following tips should help you prepare for CQC inspections, and each one explains a suggested ‘action plan’ of a practical activity you can do for tips you find helpful.

Prepare the evidence to demonstrate that you are meeting standards

Don’t try and sweep difficult areas under the carpet. Think through what information you already have (e.g. QOF performance statistics, policies, training records, copies of staff qualifications) to make sure that you have evidence to demonstrate how the practice is meeting each of the essential standards.

Forecast the points that the CQC inspector is likely to be concentrating on

These can be expected to include aspects such as infection control, safeguarding and CRB/DBS checks, patient engagement, staff recruitment, premises, record keeping systems, confidentiality, equipment and patient safety in the practice.

Check your organisation understand the role of the CQC

Train your personnel about the CQC, so that they understand what it is and how it works.  Don’t forget that the inspector may ask to talk to anyone working in the practice. In particular, fully brief the Partners - they are all legally responsible for their CQC obligations, so it is essential that know about the CQC’s essential standards and what the practice is doing to meet them.

Don’t overthink it!

Don’t lay out the red carpet – the CQC will want to see the practice ‘as it is’. And don’t focus just on your written policies and procedures – the inspector will be mainly looking for what happens in practice, whether systems work, whether staff are trained, etc.

Assess the risks that your services present to patients, as well as the risk of not meeting the CQC standards

Remember, that’s what the inspection is all about. It is not just an opportunity for some external bureaucrats to try and catch you out!  Inspectors will be looking at aspects such as:

  • Data protection

  • breaches of Health and Safety regulations

  • how the telephone is answered

  • information for patients

  • how staff speak to people

  • whether full explanations about care are given

  • whether chaperones are offered when appropriate.

Your equipment will be inspected

Equipment that is used to deliver care and treatment must be clean, suitable for the intended purpose, maintained, stored securely and used properly.  Check to see if you have records to support evidence of regular servicing, pressure care and decontamination processes are in place.

Are you adequately LOLER and PUWER compliant?

Providers retain legal responsibility under these regulations when they delegate responsibility through contracts or legal agreements to a third party, independent suppliers, professionals, supply chains or contractors. They must, therefore, make sure that they meet the regulation, as responsibility for any shortfall rests with the provider.

You can remove the hassle of remembering when your equipment needs servicing by taking out a patient handling equipment servicing contract with us. Talk to us here.

Looking for some help preparing for your visit?

Our regular servicing and preventative maintenance of equipment ensure continued safety, helps prolong the operational life of equipment, minimises the risk of downtime and emergency call-outs - helping you meet CQC equipment requirements. Contact us to find out more.  


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