The Care Quality Commission (CQC) acts as the regulator of health and social care services in the UK. They cover a number of different types of service providers including care homes, GPs, hospitals and dentists.
The CQC has three key functions:
- Registration – registering service providers;
- Monitoring and inspection – ensuring that service providers are meeting core standards; and
- Enforcement – taking action against service providers who do not meet those standards.
It is extremely important that healthcare providers ensure that they register with the CQC if they are required to do so. We advise clients on whether they are required to be registered with the CQC and also assist clients if they have not obtained the correct registration and enforcement action is subsequently taken against them (see below for further details).
The Care Quality Comission 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 (“the 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.
The CQC is entitled to take enforcement action against any service provider which breaches the Regulations and/ or other legislation. These powers allow the CQC to protect the public and to ensure that service providers maintain a good level of care.
With the increasing pressures on service providers following the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a rise in enforcement action taken by the CQC including warning notices.
When served with a Warning Notice, a service provider should consider its contents very carefully. You normally have a strict time limit in which you can make representations about a Warning Notice.
The CQC does have discretion to publish the Warning Notice and do a press release. This can have a significant impact on the service provider’s reputation. Accordingly, depending on the nature of the Warning Notice, you may wish to seek legal advice when making the representations to ensure you are putting your case forward as strongly as possible.
Laura Stanley regularly deals with CQC related issues and therefore please do get in contact if you require any assistance in this respect. For our other articles on CQC please click here :