The Care Quality Commission (CQC) acts as the regulator of health and social care services in the UK. The CQC will regularly inspect care homes, hospitals and medical practices and publish a report on their findings.
During the inspection, an inspector will consider the home’s performance in 5 key areas by reference to the Health and Social Care Act Regulations.
It is not uncommon for providers to feel that the report produced by the CQC contains factual inaccuracies or that the wider context of a situation has not been taken into account. This is when we get involved. We understand that a negative inspection report can have a significant impact on your business and can provide you with advice and support throughout the challenge process.
We will carefully review the draft report and advise you on any areas where we consider that the inspector may not have complied with the CQC guidance. The regulations can be complicated and there will be some occasions where the regulations have been applied incorrectly or inconsistently.
If you are looking to challenge a CQC report, our top tips would be as follows:-
The CQC have strict deadlines by which any challenges need to be submitted. It is important to make sure that you diarise the final submission date and obtain legal advice as soon as possible.
Understand the process
The CQC has published forms that it expects providers to use when challenging a draft report. Whilst it can be tempting just to submit a complaint by e-mail or letter, you will have a greater chance of successfully challenging the contents of the report if you follow the correct procedure.
If you have any evidence which supports your position, make sure that you provide this to the CQC along with your application form. It may be that the inspector did not see a chart that you use to record bed changes or medication provisions and this led to adverse conclusions in the report. The challenge is an opportunity to show that you did have the correct procedures and checks in place at the time of the inspection.
If the inspector does highlight any issues in your policies, consider whether you can make any reasonable adjustments. The CQC will often be less inclined to penalise providers who have taken action quickly and tried to remedy any breaches.
Our healthcare team has experience in challenging ratings, appealing penalty notices and getting reports amended. If you are a provider and are looking for legal advice and support in respect of a recent CQC decision, please get in touch.