This month is an important one at CQC, as we launch our interim approach to having structured conversations with providers. These conversations offer support and give us an opportunity to understand the impact of COVID-19 on people who receive services and social care providers during these unprecedented times.
You will recall that back in March, we announced we were stopping routine inspections to play our part in limiting the spread of the virus. In the past few weeks I have had lots of positive feedback from those of you who have had conversations with your local inspectors about how you’ve found our approach; offering support, signposting and escalating issues when needed.
On Tuesday 5th May, we launched the Emergency Support Framework (ESF). The ESF allows us to have structured conversations with you, very much through the safety lens, about how you are responding to the challenges of COVID-19 and what barriers you are facing. The framework will help us to understand what is going on for individual providers and we will use the information to look at the regional and national level impacts of COVID-19 on adult social care as a whole. We also want to know how services are using innovative ways to manage, so that we can share this learning.
This is a new way of working and we will be reviewing and adapting it as we go forward. You can find out what to expect from the ESF using the guidance on our website. I would encourage you to get in touch and give us feedback on how you have found the new process if you have been part of it so far, as this will help us to improve the experience. You can do this via our digital participation platform, which you can sign up for online if you have not already.
We still expect services to continue to do everything in their power to keep people safe and we still have the power to take enforcement action if we think that people are unsafe or are at risk of abuse. It is also more important than ever that we hear feedback from people about the care they’re receiving, which helps us make sure people are kept safe and their human rights are protected. Please can you encourage the people you support and their families to tell us about their care. We want to hear what’s working well for people as well as what needs to be improved. You can tell us about it using our ‘Give feedback on care’ service to share your experiences.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been more demanding and put more pressure on our sector than any of us could have imagined, which has led to CQC becoming involved in tasks outside our usual role. This includes helping to establish a national testing programme. Our main focus as the regulator, however, is on what the sector needs from us, which is ensuring that people are receiving safe high-quality care, and I am confident that the ESF Is the right mechanism for us to do this during COVID-19.