CQC Inspections; a practical guide to answering the 5 key questions
DENTAL BULLETIN, ISSUE 54
From 1st April 2015 the CQC introduced a new inspection regime for dental care providers. We explained the reasons for this in issue 9 of dental bulletin. Here we go into more detail in respect of the 5 key questions that are so important in every inspection.
The 5 key questions
The CQC will ask whether your practice is:
The overall idea is that an inspection should not be a tick box exercise but should be a holistic approach as to whether the service meets the new fundamental standards and these questions are used to help an inspector assess this. The reality is that many of these fundamental standards were part of the old inspection regime and should therefore come as no surprise.
The ‘well-led’ requirement, however, is new and is as a result the Francis Report into the failures of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, and the government’s response to that report. The main focus of inspections now is to assess the quality of care delivered to patients. In making this assessment, the CQC looks at the leadership and organisational culture of providers. This means there is a greater responsibility on managers and supervisors to ensure compliance with the fundamental standards, from receptionist to associate.
Are you safe?
The CQC are looking to see that the people who use your services are protected from abuse and protected from avoidable harm.
Are you Effective?
This means that people’s care, treatment and support achieves good outcomes, promotes good quality of life and is based on best available evidence.
Are you caring?
The people who use your service will be treated with compassion, kindness, dignity, and respect.
Are you responsive?
The services are organised so people’s needs are met.
Are you well-led?
The CQC asks if the leadership, management, and governance assures the delivery of high quality person-centred care, supports learning and innovation and promotes an open and fair culture.
As you will no doubt have gathered, the new inspection regime is even more patient focused than before. This means dental practices need to be proactive not re-active when meeting the needs of its service users. Every dental practice is different in terms of the treatment it provides, the community it serves and the patients it treats. This means the evidence you need to pass an inspection will be specific to your practice and the community it provides for. Whilst standard polices can be used with most things, such as health and safety, how you monitor and respond to patient needs will be unique to your practice.
With the new well led requirement, managers and supervisors also need to lead by example. Ensure you train all your staff, from receptionist to practice manager, on practice policies and procedures and record what training has been provided. Remember your receptionist is the first point of contact at your practice, so they need to be just as well trained as the rest of your staff. We recommend during monthly staff meetings refresher training is given; many policies will not be used that regularly and this will ensure staff remember what their duties are.
More information on how to prepare before, during and after an inspection, in particular challenging an inspector’s findings, is also available in issue 23 of our dental bulletin.
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Laura Pearce, Senior Solicitor