Thank you for taking the time to read my second Inside CQC column and Happy New Year! I hope that you have had a restful festive period and managed to take some time for yourself, to recharge and recuperate for the year ahead.
I would like to celebrate all of the work that has gone into keeping people safe this winter, and, throughout the winter months, myself and the other CQC Chief Inspectors will be posting blogs on our Medium page.
When I wrote to you in June, I had been in the position of Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care for the CQC for little over a month and was still settling into the role.
Since then, I have had the chance to visit several services and meet with many of the people who are providing and receiving care, which has been one of the highlights of my job.
Last week I had the pleasure of joining an inspection of a care agency, where I spoke to families who enthused about the quality of care provided for their loved ones. Families told me about feeling part of a team and working in partnership with the provider. One daughter talked about her dad with dementia and how staff knew exactly what words to say to reassure him. I heard that visits weren’t missed, the staff were rarely late and that the care workers were consistent, so they got to know the likes and dislikes of the people they supported.
I spoke with a woman who received care and she described how the service had arranged a Christmas get-together for the people they provided support to, but that, in addition to this, on Christmas morning, the manager visited everyone’s home who didn’t have family and delivered a home cooked roast dinner. She said she burst into tears when she opened the door to her. I often talk about our social care workforce routinely going above and beyond what they are asked to deliver to ensure that people have a good quality of life, and this is a wonderful example of that.
I am passionate about shouting about great work that is going on in the sector, but also about shining a spotlight on work that we are involved in which is aimed at improving adult social care. This year, I want to highlight the work that CQC and other national bodies in the sector are doing on medicines optimisation, as this is an important area of focus for us going forward.
In July 2019, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) launched Involved and informed to encourage better medicines support for people receiving medicines in community settings. There are 237 million medication errors reported in the NHS every year. However, notably, 50% of our Provider Information Returns report nil medication errors. We can’t learn how to support people to be more informed and receive the right medication when it is prescribed without having a robust mechanism for learning from when this does not occur.
The NICE campaign aims ‘to ensure that people get the best possible outcomes with a reduced risk of medicine related harm’. As the regulator, we are in a unique position to be able to drive improvement in this area by highlighting to providers the importance of the guideline NG67 and the associated quality standard. There are also plenty of tools and resources to assist providers, as well as our report on Medicines in Health and Social Care. Over the next few months, we are going to be focusing on a different medicine topic in our provider bulletins, which you can sign up to on our website.
In the coming year, we will also be shining a light on the care that people with learning disabilities and/or autism receive, with the final report from our thematic review of restraint, seclusion and segregation due to publish in Spring. You can read the interim report with our findings from phase one of the review on our website.
I look forward to writing to you again soon and talking in more detail about some of the really interesting subjects that CQC is tackling in 2020 and the reports that we are publishing, in particular our report on sexual safety in adult social care which is due for release soon.
Kate Terroni is Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission. Share your thoughts and feedback on Kate’s column below.