The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published blog updates for care providers about its evolving approach to monitoring during the pandemic, as the risk of coronavirus recedes.
The regulator said it will aim to make regulatory contact with all adult social care providers by the end of March 2021.
And from September, the CQC will be moving towards a ‘Transitional Regulatory Approach’ to monitoring, which may include visiting providers.
It said that while it is “unlikely” it will return to its published frequency of inspection, the CQC will be “widening its scope” to include services where it has evidence that care needs to be improved, as well as services that may be at immediate risk.
Explaining the Transitional Regulatory Approach, CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm said: “This will be a flexible, iterative, approach that brings together the best of our existing methodologies with learning from our COVID-19 response, in a way that enables us to better deliver our purpose. Importantly, this will include us visiting providers.
“Our focus over the last three months has naturally been on the immediate risks presented by the pandemic. We know that this needs to evolve.
“From September we will develop our monitoring approach to capture a much broader range of topics as part of the monitoring process and use all the information available to us to present a clearer view of risk and quality.”
The regulator said it will evolve the approach it has developed through its Emergency Support Framework (ESF), launched in May to help CQC staff have structured conversations with providers, to look at more of the issues that “matter to people”.
Trenholm said: “We will develop clear areas of focus for our monitoring, based on existing Key Lines of Enquiry specifically targeting safety, access and leadership. We want to continue to iterate our areas of focus throughout the autumn and place greater emphasis on other areas, such as improvement cultures.”
The CQC said it will “strike a balance” between making sure it hears people’s experiences of care and making an accurate assessment of quality with minimising infection control risks and “not adding unnecessary pressure” on the health and care system.
“We know that responding to coronavirus has presented an unprecedented challenge for providers across health and social care,” added Trenholm.
“But it remains that everyone deserves to get good, safe care. We will support and encourage those providers who are trying to improve and provide the best care for people using their services, but we will take action where necessary.”
Caption: Ian Trenholm, speaking in October 2019.