Planning for CQC inspections

The CQC (Care Quality Commission) is a big name in health and social care.

They regulate all care services across England to make sure hospitals, nursing homes and clinics are providing safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care.

All care providers must register with the CQC before they practise, and are then continually monitored to ensure they meet a series of legal requirements. The regulations differ slightly from practice to practice, however the CQC asks 5 key questions to every service they inspect:

1. Are they safe?
2. Are they effective?
3. Are they caring?
4. Are they responsive to people’s needs?
5. Are they well-led?

These questions form the basis of the CQC inspection and help regulators focus on the areas that matter most.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN INSPECTION?

The CQC collects evidence before the inspection and carries out site visits to observe care, talk to staff and see how patients’ needs are managed in-house. The site inspections vary depending on the size of the provider. For example, an NHS trust may be inspected by a team of 50 inspectors and clinical experts – while a small care home may be visited by a single inspector.

During an inspection you may be asked to give a presentation about your performance before the inspection team meets your senior staff to explain the scope of their visit. The entire process is outlined at the very beginning, so there won’t be any nasty surprises!

HOW IS EVIDENCE GATHERED?

Care providers are constantly monitored by the CQC, so evidence is gathered all the time. This could include comments, letters and emails, information from staff, and feedback from CQC-planned activities.

The inspection team will then gather further evidence during the inspection. Again, this will vary depending on the scope and size of your practice, but the inspection will focus on the key areas of concern and success.

WHAT FEEDBACK IS GIVEN?

At the end of the visit, the inspection team will meet with your senior members of staff to feedback on the session. They’ll highlight any issues that may have come up and identify if you need to take any immediate action. If you don’t have any further visits scheduled, you’ll then have to wait for the judgement to be published.

HOW ARE PROVIDERS GRADED?

The CQC inspection includes an overall rating for the whole practice and a rating for each of the 5 key questions. You’ll either be rated outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate. You’re required by law to clearly display your CQC rating in your premises and on your website – so it’s incredibly important.

Your rating will impact the popularity of your practice and how people feel about your services, so preparing for the CQC inspection is vital. Download our checklist to find out what evidence is required during an inspection and what you can do to prepare.

Download guide


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