CQC – who regulates the regulator?
It was disappointing to read in the press that the CQC has found that dozens of its reports are flawed. In January 2020, it is reported that CQC has been compelled to retract almost 40 inspection reports into care and nursing homes after finding that there was “duplicate material” in 78 reports, where identical quotes from patients, service users or families or sections of evidence had been pasted into reports and different institutions. In 38 out of the 78 reports, CQC has found that the homes in question would need to be re-inspected in order for them to be “confident in the ratings and findings”. All of the homes were in the North of England with the exception of one in London.
This is devastating news for the sector. It does however underline the importance of challenging a CQC inspection if you are a provider and feel that the due process has not been followed.
Ultimately, it is the providers who regulate the CQC. Only if providers complain, challenge or report back to the CQC can poor inspection practices be identified and addressed.
CQC encourage providers to speak up and will take proportionate action where justified.
We recommend bringing a complaint to the CQC as soon as an issue arises. If you feel that your CQC inspection has been conducted by someone who was unprofessional, was not listening to what you had to say or came with a very fixed agenda, you should raise this through the CQC complaints process straightaway. Do not wait for your inspection report as a complaint at that point can seem a little like “sour grapes”. An early complaint can result in the production of a draft report being placed on hold pending the outcome of the investigation and it is far easier to prevent the publication of a report in the first place, than it is to get one removed once it is online.
CQC must investigate concerns when they are presented to it and must treat every concern as a legitimate verifiable concern even if providers have a suspicion that vexatious or vindictive complaints have been made. A fair and balanced process must be followed. If it is not – speak up.
If you have any questions regarding the issues in this article then please contact Philippa Doyle.