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The Care Quality Commission has seen “a marked rise in the number of whistleblowers” contacting them and this is driving a focus on the areas they see as posing the most risk and where we have received concerns.

Whistleblowing

The CQC indicated that, the number of whistleblowing concerns received during November 2020 was 58% higher than the same period last year.

We have previously written about the CQC’s transitional regulatory approach.  This new approach places a much greater focus on the CQC moving away from traditional routine inspections to an approach that is much more focussed on focussed inspections informed by risk.

Concerns raised by whistleblowers have been a key part of our transitional regulatory approach and the CQC has warned that information about whistleblowing will inform its decision making in terms of where to focus it regulatory inspections.  Prof Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “As our transitional regulatory approach is risk-based we will be carrying out targeted inspections, focusing on the areas that we see as posing the most risk and where we have received concerns.”

CQC’s key priorities for this winter

The CQC has identified the following as its key priorities for this winter and the areas we will focus on are:

  • infection prevention and control
  • the impact of winter on emergency departments
  • the safety of maternity services

Context

There is no questioning the very challenging circumstances the care sectors in finding itself in.  The CQC’s wider transitional regulatory approach but also it more specific inspection activity over winter fortunately acknowledges this very challenging circumstances faced by the sector.

Prof Baker also stated that: “All these inspections will be based on risk, in line with our transitional regulatory approach, and will be carried out taking into account the increased pressures currently impacting on hospital services and staff. We are visiting services where we have concerns to make sure people are receiving safe care, and we want to support providers to do this.”

Whist the context of Prof. Baker’s comments is hospital inspections, the same is true of other stakeholders and providers including care homes.

What this means for care providers

The CQC’s winter inspection activity will focus on risk informed, amongst other things, complaints and whistleblowing reports.  This means therefore that care providers who have been subject to complaints and whistleblowing are likely to be subject to inspection activity.  It is of course the case that complaints and whistleblowing, per se, are not indicators of poor care unless these have been substantiated in line with the CQC whistleblowing procedure.

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Through this extensive experience we fully understand the significance of inspection reports and the impact these may have on the reputation of your business.

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Please contact us without delay if you are experiencing difficulties with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), inspection reports or issues with any other regulatory body or actions.