The CQC has announced an immediate cessation to routine inspections in response to the coronavirus.
While retaining some inspection powers for cases of harm or abuse allegations, the CQC said routine inspections would not be held in their current form during the period of the pandemic.
In a weekly update for providers and staff, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Kate Terroni, (pictured) said: “Our primary objectives during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic will to be to support you to keep people safe during a period of unprecedented pressure on the health and care system. As a result, we will be stopping inspections from Monday 16 March.”
The regulator said a conversations would be held with providers in the instances when physical inspections are required.
Providers are advised to contact the watchdog within 24 hours of any suspected or known case of the virus, including service users, staff, volunteers’ or visiting professionals.
Kate added: “We encourage everyone to act in the best interests of the health of the people they serve, with the top priority the protection of life. We encourage you to use your discretion and act in the best way you see fit.”
The chief inspector announced a range of measures designed to provide greater support for registered managers during the outbreak, including:
- not penalising the late return of Provider Information Returns (PIRs);
- reducing reporting burden by sharing information with local authorities and clinical commissioning groups; and
- using information gathered from PIRs to inform and influence government and commissioners to provide support and address issues such as workforce challenges.
Other support that CQC is offering the system includes the return of clinically qualified CQC special advisors to the frontline to help with the wider national response; secondments of staff to DHSC, Public Health England and NHS England.
The regulator’s customer contact centre expects to start taking non-clinical COVID-19 calls [from next week] in support of 111. CQC staff also stand ready to help any other part of the national effort whether that be in the public or private sector.