The Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission, Kate Terroni has written to providers to announce that CQC will stop inspections as of today due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
In the statement, Kate says, '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'
The regulator will continue to monitor cases where it has concerns of harm, such as reports of suspected abuse, but the inspections will not be carried out in the same manner as they are currently. Kate states, 'When physical inspections are deemed appropriate, we anticipate having a conversation with the provider before a visit takes place.'
CQC requests that providers notify them with any suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus within 24 hours, including cases in staff, people using services, volunteers, visiting professionals or visitors, contractors that may have has contact with people using the service.
The letter to providers goes on to say, '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.
'Importantly, we want to act as a support for registered managers - our inspection team will be there to provide advice and guidance to the providers throughout this period, and will be implementing the following:
- In the absence of a single national oversight body like NHS England for adult social care, we will continue to request Provider Information Returns (PIRs).
- However we will not penalise providers for the late return of PIRs.
- In order to reduce your reporting burden we will share the information we collect from you with local authorities and clinical commissioning groups.
- We will use the information gathered from PIRs to inform and influence government and commissioners to provide support and address issues such as workforce challenges.
'More than ever, please can you pass my thanks to your dedicated workforce and for your leadership as we pull together during this difficult time to ensure people receive safe care. We will update you further if things change significantly.'
This news that CQC will stop inspections comes after new guidance was released on Friday to help adult social care providers to deal with COVID-19.