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The 5 key Do’s and Don’ts for CQC

17th October 2014 | Categories: GPs

The 5 dos and donts_1New approach

This week I was asked to come up with five key mistakes to avoid and five key things needed to achieve the new ‘Outstanding’ rating when it comes to preparing for CQC inspections. Under the new approach CQC inspectors will make their judgement on providers by assessing services against five key questions: Are they safe? Are they effective? Are they caring? Are they responsive to people’s needs? Are they well-led?

5 key mistakes to avoid

I’m sure most of us know by now what we should and shouldn’t be doing, but here are my top five standards that CQC will pick up on if they’re not met:

  • Not having robust systems in place for ensuring that prescriptions are produced and signed in accordance with the current regulations.Not having safe recruitment procedures in line with the national policy on criminal record checks.
  • Not having adequate risk assessments to ensure patient safety.
  • Not having a robust complaint reporting procedure and evidence of actions taken to improve patient care.
  • Not having adequate staff supervision and training to ensure they are always equipped to meet patient’s needs.

5 key things to evidence ‘Outstanding’ service

The new inspection regime, which started on 1st October 2014, has highlighted both ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Poor’ services from healthcare providers. Here are my top tips based on the five key questions:

1. Safe – ensure incident reporting (significant events and serious untoward incidents) is embraced by staff throughout the practice. Demonstrate the continuous improvement, culture and accountability amongst all staff groups through regular review meetings. Have systems in place for robust monitoring of cleanliness and infection control to ensure standards are being met.

2. Effective – carry out regular audits to evidence a commitment to continuously improving outcomes for patients. Guidelines and polices should include evidence-based guidance and national recommendations e.g. from NICE. Participate in multidisciplinary meetings with a clear commitment to working collaboratively to improve care through innovations, improvements in pathways, improvements in teamwork and more efficient ways of working.

3. Caring – empower patients to be part of their ongoing care. Actively seek their views and feedback to evidence specific outstanding services that you provide, e.g. enhanced services. Create a culture of innovative approach to meeting patients’ individual needs, particularly for different and vulnerable groups of people that use your services. Particular patient groups include:

  • Older people
  • People with long-term conditions
  • Families, children & young people
  • Working age people, those recently retired and students
  • People living in vulnerable circumstances
  • People experiencing poor mental health (including those with dementia)

4. Responsive – when considering the development of services, ensure individual patients’ needs are considered. Actively seek their views and engage with them on a regular basis through patient participation meetings.

3. Well-led – provide strong leadership to ensure a sense of mutual support and passion to deliver patient-centred care amongst all staff groups, at all levels, through regular practice meetings & internal communication streams. Engage staff in decision making. Provide evidence of low staff turnover and continuous staff feedback, e.g. staff appraisals & exit interviews.

Communication, communication, communication

I believe that a typical communication cycle is key to meeting the new CQC inspection standards:

  • Outline your aims
  • Publish the information, plans and proposals to staff and patients
  • Actively seek feedback
  • Analyse the feedback
  • Change, improve or develop the service
  • Repeat the process

Nigel Sparrow is the CQC’s Senior National GP Advisor. See his ‘Mythbusters’ which clears up some common myths about the CQC’s inspections of GP practices.

Alison Lowerson – QCS Expert GP Practice Manager Contributor


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CQC Outcomes are now called Key Lines of Enquiry. CQC Essential Standards are now CQC Fundamental Standards.