The CQC have announced some changes to their approach to inspection in adult social care in response to the pressures that the sector is currently experiencing.
Notably, the CQC has said that they will, “Increase the number of inspections of care homes and homecare agencies with a current rating of requires improvement. Inspections will be carried out where there is information to suggest there has been improvement since our last inspection.”
This is a complete turn-around from the risk-based approach, where the CQC would only go in to re-inspect services where information suggest concerns over safety of care being provided at a service.
This indicates, that rather than looking for bad, the CQC may actually go in to look for good practice and justify an upgrade in ratings. The idea is that where enough positive evidence is gathered, a rating could be upgraded, which would, in turn, result in commissioners determining that these are suitable placements for service users and create much needed capacity within the sector. The CQC has also stated that they will prioritise monitoring calls to services where evidence shows there has been improvement.
This will come as welcome news to providers who have struggled to demonstrate to CQC that, despite some concerns being raised during inspections, the overall provision of service was to a ‘Good’ standard. Now is the time for providers to encourage service users and stakeholders to provide feedback and for providers themselves to make the CQC aware of the improvements and positive outcomes for service users in their homes.
However, providers should still be cautious with any information that is shared with the CQC.
Above all else, the CQC will still be acting in the best interests of service users. Therefore, while providers should seek out honest feedback, they will want to ensure that the overall tone is positive and complimentary of the service before drawing it to the CQC’s attention. Further, the CQC has maintained that where evidence does not demonstrate improvement this will be reflected in the rating. Thus, before sending anything to the CQC providers will want to ensure that it is the best evidence that they can send and that it sheds a positive light on the service.
Overall, it appears that the CQC is going to be looking for good, at least until the end of March. These next two months will be imperative for providers who have been stuck in limbo with a Requires Improvement rating to potentially get that uplifted to Good or even Outstanding.