The Guardian has recently carried out an investigation into CQC inspection outcomes during the pandemic. The Guardian’s report stated that CQC had identified weaknesses in some care home defences against the COVID-19 outbreak. Although CQC has halted its routine inspection programme, targeted inspections will still be conducted where concerns have been raised.
Some of the key issues that CQC has noted during recent targeted inspections included:
- Carers with COVID-19 symptoms or with a positive test result being told to work because of staff shortages;
- Not encouraging social distancing;
- Cohorting of staff and zoning were not fully adopted to minimise the risk of infection travelling between different areas of the service;
- A failure to isolate residents when they return from hospital;
- Poor use of PPE, including not wearing face masks correctly and not using disposable gloves or aprons;
- Lack of cleaning;
- Dirty laundry of a person self-isolating left in an open bag in the communal corridor;
- A relative visiting a resident in the communal lunge shared with other people.
Care home providers need to remain vigilant to the type of issues that may arise in their homes during the pandemic. There is also an increased risk of safeguarding concerns being raised at present, which inevitably adds to the existing pressures. CQC is receiving regular information from local authorities and is also encouraging staff, service users, relatives and others to speak out and tell CQC if they have any concerns. Over the last couple of months, we have seen an increase in the number of CQC inspections taking place in response to concerns received by CQC. Care homes need to be prepared for CQC inspections, by ensuring continued compliance.
Where CQC has rated a home as ‘Inadequate’, it will be placed in special measures. Care homes also face potential enforcement action following an ‘Inadequate’ rating or breach of health and social care regulations. Therefore, it is important to review draft inspection reports to ensure they are accurate and fair. Our healthcare solicitors have recently written about the importance of careful consideration of draft inspection reports and the need for providers to submit a detailed factual accuracy form if they have concerns.
We recognise that care homes are facing unprecedented challenges at the moment and CQC is not always fair in how it responds to concerns. If you need advice or assistance, please contact our experienced care home solicitors to discuss how we can help you, on 01202 786135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.