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Health and social care businesses are unprepared for CQC framework

  • Employment and compliance experts recommend 15 actions for organisations to take ahead of the full rollout.
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Four in ten health and social care businesses are unprepared for upcoming CQC framework changes, 41% of health and social care businesses say they feel unprepared for the single assessment framework changes  from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which started rolling out on 21 November with early adopters in the South of England.

Just 6% of those surveyed by employment law, HR and health and safety specialists WorkNest and its sister company, Care 4 Quality, said they have the right training and processes in place already despite the changes being implemented across all providers by Spring 2024.

The new strategy will bring all health and social care providers under one single framework to provide more consistency across services.

It will impact all organisations that the CQC regulates including care homes, dentists, GP surgeries and those providing care in people’s own homes.

For many, the CQC regulations are the linchpin for how they operate. The four key changes that will come as a result of the update concern; a quality statement replacing key lines of enquiry (KLOEs), ratings with a new scoring element, amends to evidence categories, and frequency of inspections.

Julie Walton, Head of Registrations at Care 4 Quality said: “Elements of the old framework will still exist under the changes, including no changes in legislation. Inspections and the five questions that underpin assessments will stay the same. This means it won’t be a completely new concept to businesses but there are many things to consider and, if the rollout goes well, the changes will approach all providers quickly in the new year.”

The research conducted among health and social care organisations identified the aspects of the new single assessment that they feel least confident about:

  • Introduction of evidence categories (24%)
  • Online portal development (22%)
  • Introduction of a scoring system for ratings (21%)
  • Quality statements instead of KLOEs (19%)
  • Moving to a monitoring / continuous assessment model (14%)

Commenting on the upcoming changes, Simon van Os, Head of Customer Solutions at Quality Care Group, insurance specialists for the care sector, said: “The move signals a transformative shift in the evaluation of care homes in the UK. From a care business insurance perspective, this evolution holds the promise of a more standardised and transparent risk assessment process. While adjustments may be required, the overarching goal is to create a more efficient and effective system.

“As the industry continues to adapt to this new framework, collaboration and open communication will be essential for ensuring that the assessment criteria remain robust and reflective of the ever-evolving landscape of care provision in the UK.”

WorkNest’s sector specialists will be supporting hundreds of health and social care providers in their transition to single assessments, whilst Care 4 Quality will be providing specialist assistance with mock inspections, CQC policies, CQC registrations, and compliance support. Together they recommend 15 actions organisations can take as they adapt to the CQC changes:

  • Work with your care team and staff. Share information about the strategy with them as it becomes available. Add it as an item to your team meeting agendas, share the CQC resources with them, and make quality and compliance a cultural value in your care facility.
  • Join the CQC’s Citizen Lab. This gives you the opportunity to have early access to what the CQC is thinking, as well as share your opinion of the upcoming changes.
  • Keep your CQC presentation/PIR up to date. This will save you time in the long run as it will be requested.
  • Keep a record of innovation and creativity within your care service. Make sure you can evidence the impact on people and the wider facility.
  • Reach out to other services. Are you part of leadership forums and healthcare groups in your area? Networking and sharing information and best practices helps to drive innovation and improvement across services.
  • Make sure your audits are up to date and clearly reflect any changes made / actions taken in response to audit findings.
  • Survey people that use your service, including friends and family and visiting professionals. Consider how you use this feedback.
  • Treat external stakeholders and the Local Authority in the same way as you do the CQC – they will be asked for feedback.
  • Ensure your evidence is well organised. Think about the new evidence categories and how you will present this to the CQC.
  • Consider implementing a compliance software system. Electronic systems and processes will save you a significant amount of time.
  • Involve people who use your service and their families as much as possible in its development. Consider asking people who use services to join interview panels.
  • Remember, the CQC is looking at how care providers work together within systems to help achieve shared care goals, so:

o   Increase your understanding and awareness of the care system you belong to.

o   Identify local healthcare themes and trends.

o   Consider the pressure points in secondary care and ways you can support this.

o   Look out for any initiatives in your area that you could join forces with to support the current and ongoing national themes of reduction in health inequalities, reducing hospital admissions due to Urinary Tract Infection, and early detection of pressure damage which could lead to tissue breakdown.

A free on-demand webinar on how to navigate the CQC framework changes is available here for providers.

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