As CQC starts to increase its on-site activity, the regulator has been considering the precautions that its inspection teams should take in relation to infection and prevention control.
CQC has consulted with the Department of Health and Social Care (the “DHSC”) about accessing COVID-19 tests for CQC inspectors.
The DHSC have considered the matter and assessed that CQC inspectors do not meet the criteria for weekly asymptomatic testing, as inspectors are not required to undertake ‘hands on’ closer personal contact with people. This decision also applies to other CQC employees who undertake inspection visits, such as specialist advisors and experts by experience.
CQC states that this approach is in line with what has been agreed with other professionals, and that the DHSC will continually review its policies in line with emerging evidence. CQC also states that its priority is to ensure the safety of people using services, staff and its employees and as a result is taking the following measures:
- Thorough risk assessments ahead of all inspection and registration visits
- Provision of PPE for CQC inspectors undertaking on-site activity and training in how to don and doff correctly
- Training in infection prevention and control
CQC use of PPE
When CQC inspectors first resumed on-site activity, they had been supplied with a surgical face mask, gloves, apron and eye protection wear. This decision was based on the risks at the time. Since then, Public Health England (PHE) has published new guidance detailing what PPE should be worn in different circumstances in adult social care. CQC is following this guidance and using it to inform its decisions about what PPE is appropriate for the different circumstances.