Having worked with a variety of healthcare organisations and their Senior Management Teams (SMT) it is very clear to me that whatever the healthcare setting there is common ground underpinning the fabric of integrity, such as:

  • Openness of the Culture
  • Transparency of the journey towards improvement
  • Internal Stakeholder engagement
  • Meeting the Goals, Vision & Mission

Preparing for a CQC inspections can be a very torrid experience. The notification comes and the imperative call to action begins; sounding the horn loudly for all hands to be on deck.

A small step is still change – you don’t need to grab the entire goal right this second

For the SMT (and the focus is on the SMT here due to accountability), this is a time of rallying divisional leads and ensuring that a full service review is held in order to gain a real and often raw view of the position of the service – how well does it meet every aspect of the 5 domains, and what to do when it doesn’t.

Preparing the Preparation for the Appraising! …now say that fast 5 times!

If part of a process, policy, practice or participation are not found to be as intended or expected it is an unwelcome find in respect of the pending inspection but worse still can indicate a potential impact to how care is delivered. Finding areas that might negatively impact the quality of care at anytime is a major concern for most boards; finding these kind of issues becomes overwhelming with a looming CQC ‘review’.  In these circumstances most people experience the “how did we not know about this?” awful pit of the stomach sensation – all amplified by the lack of time that is required to fix it (whatever ‘it’ is).

“‘How did we not know this?’ is an important question but it isn’t about blame it’s about being open to learning at this stage”

“How did we not know this?” is an important question but it isn’t about blame it’s about being open to learning at this stage and beyond inspection it is about ensuring you have a more proactive future assurance mechanism so that you are much less likely to uncover surprises – I know, I made that sound really simple didn’t I?….Rest assured it isn’t and it won’t feel good, but it also won’t be painful forever.

How do you deal with the immediate situation?

So how does an SMT deliver all of this calmly prior to an inspection when there is an albeit reduced PIR but a time consuming PIR nonetheless?… in short it doesn’t – it is time consuming, it can be very challenging against resources and cumbersome, especially if evidence has been requested on multiple occasions but not tracked to prove so.

Ensuring that you have a comfortable accessible setting for the inspectors’ base during their time, and with a dedicated resource as a conduit to support clarity and expedience, will be of huge benefit. Engaging staff on all levels to adopt a positive and candid stance is crucial – everyone who delivers a service is accountable for its optimum delivery to assure safe care; SMT, Matrons, CCG, Cleaners, Specialist providers, Nurses, Chefs, FM Providers, Locums & everyone in-between, understanding that each is as important as the other in the pathway to safe care is crucial to the scale & pace of adapting to & adopting change – that’s the Golden Thread, the culture.

Ensuring CQC inspections really do drive improvement

There is a positive flip side to this, no really! – once this has been done, it can provide:

  • A true benchmark for further developing safe care
  • A clear view on aspects that fell outside of the ‘golden thread’ (Floor to Board Governance)
  • Opportunities for Lessons Learned
  • A journey of achievement that can be shared & driven

This change will not only support all of the points mentioned above, it will also provide assurance to the board that improvement to quality and compliance are being met, as well as reassure them they are being achieved. Being able to hold a succinct board meeting with a full dashboard view on current state & progression is critical for decisions against metrics, enabling the SMT to better engage the drive and it keeps staff informed and consulted in the changes agreed; ultimately resulting in a more cohesive collaborative setting that is safer for patients – that is something we can support; enabling you to drive improvement forward.

Contact me if you would like to have a chat about your current CQC processes or to take advantage of our offer of a one day consultancy (FOC). Allocate Consultancy’s aim is to support your setting by ensuring standards set by regulators are measured, driven, implemented and embedded; assuring safer practice.

For related blogs, do take a look at both How to self-regulate across a Health economy vs a large Trust; by Andrew Corbett-Nolan; the Chief Executive of GGI, and Changes to KLOEs by Sarah Owers; HealthAssure Product Owner.

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