The Care Quality Commission has published guidance on how the 46,000 health and adult social care providers and services across England can meet the Government’s new care regulations.
The new care regulations – called the fundamental standards – will take effect from April, and so it is important that providers across the country know the sorts of things that they can do to make sure they are meeting them and also, how CQC will use new enforcement powers when their inspectors find out that people are not receiving the high-quality, safe and compassionate level of care that people deserve.
The guidance on the fundamental standards and the new enforcement policy follow a public consultation that took place last summer to get people’s views. The CQC has also published what people told them and what has changed in response to their comments.
A key part of the new enforcement policy is the ability for CQC to prosecute providers for poor care without having to issue a warning notice first. Up until now, CQC has had to follow a staged process of enforcement, starting at the bottom of the scale, and so the new policy will allow CQC to act quickly in response to the seriousness of the concern.
Also today, CQC has published a Memorandum of Understanding with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities in England, the regulators for work place health and safety, to reflect changes in how safety incidents will be acted upon.
From April, CQC will begin to be responsible for deciding whether regulatory action is needed for health and safety incidents that involve people who are cared for by services that CQC regulate. The HSE and local authorities will continue to investigate matters involving workers, visitors and contractors, as well as people receiving care by services that do not need to be registered with CQC.
Commenting on the regulations guidance and new enforcement policy, David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission, said:
We now inspect services against the five key questions that matter most to people who use them – are they safe, caring, effective, responsive to people’s needs, and well-led. This helps our inspection teams to identify good care.
When our inspection teams identify poor care, this guidance will help us to determine whether there is a breach in the new regulations and if so, what action to take. In some cases, this will mean we will use our powers to prosecute. We hope this helps providers in their preparations for April and to make sure that their services do not fall below acceptable levels of quality.”
More will follow next month, including guidance on how care homes, general practices, dental surgeries, private hospitals and other services can meet the ‘duty of candour’ and ‘fit and proper person’ requirements for directors. These will oblige providers to be open and honest when things go wrong and hold directors to account when care fails people. The requirements have been in place for NHS trusts since last November.
Also, CQC expect to publish further guidance next month on how the providers that they rate as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate should prominently display these judgements. This is another requirement that the health and adult social care services that CQC rate will have to follow from April, to improve transparency and to encourage improvement. The CQC are currently consulting on this advice at the moment, and would encourage people to share their thoughts with them.
Please see below for further details of these announcements:
- guidance on the new fundamental standards regulations and CQC policy on enforcement, and
- a new memorandum of understanding that CQC have published with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities in England.