For the last couple of weeks the CQC has appeared not to be doing much other than having conversations with government bodies. Kate Terroni’s announcement yesterday, on the back of the Government’s daily briefing appears to illustrate that those conversations have developed into a more concrete plans.
Not only has the CQC contributed to the COVID-19: our action plan for adult social care, published by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) but the CQC believes it has a vital role to play in the delivery of the plan.
The action plan sets out the Government’s response to many of the concerns raised by adult social care providers regarding the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on both service users and staff, including concerns around Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and workforce.
The Government’s approach in this Action Plan is made up of four pillars:
- Controlling the spread of infection in care homes
- Supporting the workforce
- Supporting independence, end of life care and responding to individual needs
- Supporting the organisations that provide care
The CQC has developed an Emergency Support Framework to help it deliver across all four pillars of the Action Plan. The Emergency Support Framework is to offer Providers support and advice, and to help local and national system partners identify and respond to safety concerns. The CQC aims to achieve this by offering or connecting a Provider with relevant support when they have identified risks through the conversations it is having with the Provider.
Help care staff get access to testing
The CQC is using its national infrastructure to contact care Providers in order to book appointments at one of the 12 national testing centres across the UK for any staff who are self-isolating with symptoms of Coronavirus. Soon (not mentioned how soon) staff will be able to use the service to order a kit to test at home.
Access to testing will be based on local need and is also being provided to staff at mental health services and learning disability and autism services.
Ensure greater transparency on the impact of COVID-19 on the care sector
The CQC is working with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and Public Health England to look at how to provide a more detailed and timely picture of the impact of COVID-19 on the adult social care sector.
Regulation 16 notification forms have been revised and now allow Providers to report whether a death was of a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The CQC will be reporting this data publicly and is working with the ONS to explore the best way to include this data as part of their weekly reporting.
In addition the CQC is working with Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) on proposals to understand the impact of Care Act easements and COVID-19 more widely on people with care and support needs.
Data collection on COVID-19 related pressures
As well as collecting data from residential and nursing homes on COVID-19 related pressures – such as shortages of PPE; the CQC has started to collect similar data from services who provide care for people in their own homes. The CQC will combine both streams of data with the aim of gaining a complete picture of how coronavirus is affecting staff and service users in the adult social care sector as a whole. The CQC plans to share this data with organisations who can mobilise support such as the Department of Health and Social Care, Regional Command Centres, Local Resilience Forums, Local Authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups as well as inspection teams.
New and existing systems
During yesterday’s daily briefing the Government pledged to strengthen the social care workforce through a national recruitment campaign. As part of this The CQC is involved in developing a new online platform which will give prospective social carers access to online training and a job matching facility.
The CQC will also be using some of its existing systems and processes to implement the Action Plan. They will rely on it existing Market Oversight scheme which monitors the financial health of the largest and most difficult to substitute Providers so that there is early warning of emerging risks as a result of this pandemic. Furthermore the CQC’s existing campaign “Encouraging people to give feedback on care” will add to intelligence from people who work in and use adult social care, mental health and learning disability services.
Many individuals and organisations in the health and social care sector have had to adapt, bend and flex to meet the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CQC’s necessary involvement in this Action Plan shows that it is not exempt from having to adapt.