July 5, 2022

CQC Compliance: Everything you need to know

Table of contents

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of what CQC Compliance is (the Care Quality Commission), what the requirements are for CQC compliance and what areas the CQC examine to determine their ratings. Let's go!

As a homecare business, no doubt you’ve heard of the CQC – England’s independent care regulator body, which monitors and rates quality of care across all health and social care facilities across the country. It’s there to help care recipients and their loved ones make informed decisions about where they go to for care... but it’s also important for care professionals too!

As a homecare provider or care professional, CQC compliance means:

  • Defining the type of services you offer
  • Making sure that you continue to deliver the right type of care
  • Makes sure that your level of health or social care is compliant
  • Finally it’s also a legal requirement, under the Health and Social Care Act (2009)

Who Is Inspected by the CQC?

Every provider - NHS and private care included - is inspected by the CQC and a detailed report should be made available to any member of the public who wishes to read the findings. An outstanding or good service won’t be inspected as regularly as a service that requires improvement (a CQC term) – which would be revisited within a year.

A service that’s rated as inadequate would be re-evaluated after six months, to ensure that the unacceptable issues are dealt with quickly and effectively.  CQC provides an excellent system that’s there to protect care recipients and their families, always putting their health and wellbeing first.

What is CQC Compliance?

As already mentioned, any care provider, whether a hospital, GP, clinic, dentist, social care, care home/nursing home, mental health or other is regularly inspected by the CQC and measured against five areas to ensure that care is safe, responsive, well-led, capable and effective, in other words, CQC compliant.  Within those five areas, there are 16 other standards that are assessed (more on requirements below). If you hop onto the CQC website here, you’ll find the full list. 

These standards include measuring how healthcare or social care facilities treat their care recipients, consent, safety, nutrition and appropriate care (amongst others).  Inspection reports provide in-depth information on all facilities, and there are four different ratings as follows: outstanding, good, requires improvement, and inadequate.  

Additionally, as well as the CQC’s own inspections, anyone who’s received care, whether medical, social or other is encouraged to feedback to the regulator on their experience too and there’s an area on the CQC website to do so, you can comment on any provider here. If you’re seeking care, homecare or other, the inspection reports are invaluable, especially if you want to compare services.  If you are a care professional, the reports are also invaluable and show you and your team (if you have one) where you can grow – and offer an even better service!

CQC Compliance Requirements

During inspection, the CQC will look at the five areas to measure the service provider against to make sure that the level of care is suitable.  They will also check against the 16 fundamental standards that each provider is also assessed on which we’ll examine in more detail here.  

To be compliant, a health or social care provider must be safe, and this covers a number of points; ranging from abuse, risk, administering medicine and controlling the spread of infection.  Providers are also inspected on their efficiency, referring to level of care, the treatment and support given, as well as looking at the overall outcome. 

Furthermore, a service must deliver effective care that’s aligned with legislation and care professionals must be knowledgeable.  

Of course, being caring is another essential ingredient for compliance.  Care professionals are measured on compassion, kindness and courtesy as well as how they support their care recipients with important decisions concerning their care. 

Another area is responsiveness to the needs of their care recipients and the CQC will also observe how any concerns or worries are dealt with by the service provider. 

Finally, and importantly, every care business will be assessed as to how well they are managed – this includes the leadership team, the culture and how the homecare provider approaches learning and innovation, so they continue to develop and progress.

A care recipient in any homecare or other setting should always feel safe, respected, yet with the freedom to do what they want to do and be looked after by knowledgeable care professionals with the correct qualifications and skill.  Care records should always be up-to-date, the environment clean and well-maintained and any treatment received always given with the care recipient’s or their loved one’s permission.

When Is CQC Registration Required?

There are certain laws in place that state if you’re a healthcare or social care provider, you must be registered with the CQC.  As an example, you might need to register a new nursing care business. Other reasons might be a change to your service offering. 

During the application process, you’ll undergo DBS checks, need to provide certain documents, issue a statement of purpose and include references as well as prove your financial viability.  It’s important to realise that CQC registration is based on the activities that you provide – rather than your profession.  

Find out how Birdie technology helps our partners improve their CQC rating!

Finally, the CQC is there to protect care recipients but it’s also there to help you, as a care professional, deliver the best possible service – which no doubt, you’re keen to do! Our best advice at Birdie is that if you’re planning on opening a new homecare business or other, similar service then be mindful that the application process alone can take quite a few hours to complete, and you may have to wait a few weeks before receiving a response.

Looking for more resources? Check out the CQC resources hub for downloadable worksheets, handbooks, webinars and more.

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