We find ourselves in incredibly challenging times and I want to start this column by thanking each and every person working in adult social care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
There has been incredible support across the country for those working on the front line in NHS hospitals which is very much deserved, but the front line is also in care homes, supported living services, people’s homes and all of the other places people are receiving adult social care. The work you are doing to keep people safe during COVID-19, and the care you are giving to those who are afflicted with this terrible disease, is incredible and something to be extremely proud of.
At CQC, we want to spread the word to everyone in health and social care that we are here to work with you, support you with difficult decisions, and listen when you need us. Our inspection teams are making their priority reaching out to registered managers and letting them know that we are here to help support them to keep people safe. I want to reassure you that we are listening to everything we hear from the sector and are feeding this into the many conversations we are having at both local and national levels, as well ensuring it also informs any action we need to take at CQC.
As the regulator, we have the responsibility to ensure providers of health and social care are keeping people safe, which includes during times such as these. We do however have to do this in a way which does not burden providers when they are under immense pressure on all fronts. Because of this, we are making changes to the way we work during the coronavirus outbreak, which includes the suspension of our routine inspections from Monday 16th March until further notice.
Using technology to assist in this, we will be shifting towards more remote ways of working which will allow us to be assured of safety and quality of care from a physical distance. We still do have the responsibility to use our regulatory powers if the circumstance arises, such as where there are allegations of abuse. This is why it’s never been more important that we hear from you if you have concerns about people’s safety, which you can share though the Give Feedback on Care form on our website. This is unlike anything we have done before and we have to be quick and agile in this new way of working to respond to the evolving situation.
I think it’s fair to say that providers and professionals of health and social care are inundated with communications at the moment and we want to make sure that information you need from the CQC is clear, concise and easy to find. We’re publishing answers on our website to the most common questions from adult social care providers we have received, updating the page regularly, to help providers find the answers without having to wait for a response. You can also sign up to our newsletters , which we are currently sending weekly to provide the most up to date and relevant information for the sector, and look at the dedicated COVID-19 area of our website.
I hope it is reassuring to know that we are doing everything we can and doing this as quickly as we can, to help the national effort in beating this virus. The sense of community at a time in which resources are stretched, people are losing loved ones, and the whole country is restricted in movement is an incredible thing. While we will look back at this time as the national emergency it is, I hope that we will also remember the kindness and dedication that has been shown across the country. Again, thank you to everyone who is working to keep the most vulnerable in society safe.
Debbie Ivanova is Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission. Share your thoughts and feedback on Debbie’s column below.