Following a major consultation this summer, the Care Quality Commission has launched a new strategy for regulating healthcare and the social care industry…

Healthcare Regulation by the CQC

A new strategy has been launched by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which aims to have a positive effect on patient care and ‘regulating in a targeted way’.

The strategy has been pushed ahead by the pandemic, with digital systems being used more than ever, and is the result of extensive consultation with social care and health providers as well as the public, charities and other relevant organisations.

The new strategy has four main pillars:

  1. People and communities – the aim is for the regulation to be driven by people’s needs and experiences, concentrating on what is important to them as they use and access services
  2. Smarter regulation – the plan is to have a more dynamic and flexible approach to regulation, with up-to-date and high-quality information and ratings, and easier ways of working with CQC
  3. Safety through learning – safety will be an absolute key focus. The culture across health and care will ensure that people can speak up, and so share opportunities for learning and improvement opportunities
  4. Accelerating improvement – health and care services, along with local systems, will be encouraged to access support in order to help them improve quality of care where it’s needed most.

Local health and care systems will also be assessed differently and the CQC will alter how it addresses local challenges.

Central to the above four cores are two key ambitions:

  1. Assessing local systems – offering the public independent assurance about the quality of care within their area
  2. Tackling inequalities in health and care – pushing for equality of access, experiences, and outcomes from services.

The CQC also points out that in order to be effective and to help improve the quality of care, people’s feedback and experiences is going to be vital, and it seems that we will see more ways developed for the CQC to gather views from a broader range of people, including those working in health and social care, and improve how this information is recorded and used.

It will also mean that clients, their families and advocates will be able to easily offer feedback about their care and learn how this is used to inform regulation.

Another key part of the strategy is going to look at health and care services together, evaluating how they work with each other in partnership to provide a rounded service to the people who need them.

Any organisations offering complex care must be registered with the CQC – further details can be found at www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/registration/what-registration.

Requirements for Case Managers or HR Managers

So, as Case Managers or HR Managers within the care arena, what will you need to consider?

  1. The CQC has said: “It’s time to prioritise safety: creating strong safety cultures, focusing on learning, improving expertise, listening and acting on people’s experiences, and taking clear and proactive action when safety doesn’t improve.’’ Looking at the culture within your own organisation, and ensuring that there are clear, safe and transparent ways for your workers to highlight any concerns, without fear of reprisal or disadvantage is going to be more important than ever
  2. Be aware that while on-site inspections will still be an important part of regulation, there will be a more flexible, targeted approach (rather than a set schedule of inspections). A range of methods, tools, and techniques will be used to assess the quality of your organisation’s services
  3. Know that any issues highlighted will be addressed quickly, so ensure that your teams and managers are aware that they will need to be flexible in order to make improvements
  4. Plan to work with managers to ensure the organisation is prepared for the new regulatory regime. In-depth assessments should be carried out sooner rather than later, in order to identify areas that need improvement
  5. Always consider the needs of your care workers. Karolina Gerlich, CEO at The Care Workers’ Charity, has expressed concern that the new CQC strategy doesn’t talk more about the workforce, their needs and wellbeing – especially following the pandemic. She stated that even before Covid-19, “care workers were burnt out and underappreciated, and now more than ever, their wellbeing must be prioritised’’. Something HR Managers can certainly focus on.

Some ways that we recommend to address point 5 of the above could be: regular 1-2-1’s and reviews – ensuring notes are kept of meetings concerning conduct or capability in order to target training and ongoing support. These actions will help address wellbeing or mental health concerns as it provides care staff an opportunity to discuss issues that may be affecting performance. And finally, use software to ensure personal information is up to date and kept secure.

What is the CQC?

The Care Quality Commission is the body that acts as an independent regulator for health and adult social care in England. Its job is to ensure the safe and effective delivery of health and social care services – focusing on compassion, high-quality care and constant improvement.

What is complex care?

Complex care involves specialist support for a client who has a long term or chronic health condition. The extra support enables them to manage everyday activities and their symptoms in order to achieve a high quality of life and as much independence as possible.

If you would like to discuss this subject further or need assistance to ensure you meet the new regulations, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited. T: 07767 308717 or contact us here.

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Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited provide a specialised HR service to the care sector, from recruitment through to exit.