CQC consults on how providers can meet new ‘fundamental standards’ of care
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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has drafted guidance on how the 46,000 health and adult social care providers and services that it regulates across England can meet the Government’s new regulations on care and what actions it will take when they fail.
The draft guidance has been issued as part of a public consultation which ends on Friday, 17th October. CQC says the new regulations (called “fundamental standards”) are more focused and clear about the care that people should always expect to receive.
They were laid before Parliament in July and will come into effect by next April. They include both the new “duty of candour” and the “fit and proper persons” requirements. These will oblige providers to be open and honest when things go wrong and hold directors to account when care fails people.
These two requirements will apply to NHS trusts from October. Alongside the draft guidance on how providers can meet the eleven fundamental standards, CQC is asking for views on how it will use its strengthened enforcement powers, as set out in the Care Act 2014. These will allow CQC to decide on the most appropriate enforcement action to take when care falls below the required standard rather than starting at the bottom of the scale. This includes CQC being able to prosecute providers without having to issue a warning notice first.
The regulator says that, once finalised, the guidance will help providers to understand how they can meet the new regulations and when they do not, what actions CQC will take.
CQC chief executive David Behan said the commission had already started to inspect services against the five key questions that matter most to the people who use them – are they safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs, and well-led.
“This helps our inspection teams to identify good care,” said Mr Behan.
“Where our inspection teams identify poor care, this guidance will help us to determine whether there is a breach of regulations and if so, what action to take. In some cases, this will mean we will use our powers to prosecute.
“For providers, this will help them to make applications to register or vary their registration with CQC, and to make sure their services do not fall below acceptable levels.”