Care Quality Commission: December 2021 Newsletter

Content originally from CQC

Visiting people in care homes over the festive season

We know the importance of visiting for many people drawing on care, and their loved ones, particularly over the Christmas and New Year period.

As restrictions on care homes have been revised throughout the pandemic, we will continue to monitor the situation and support care homes to implement guidance, to ensure that visiting policies are person centred.

Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, has spoken about the work we have done:

“We have taken decisive action throughout the pandemic to help keep people safe in care settings including undertaking almost 10,000 inspections, and making absolutely clear to providers that not following government guidance is unacceptable and may trigger an inspection.

“Where concerns have been raised with us in relation to visiting we have taken action in every case, including following up with providers, inspecting, taking regulatory action and where applicable, raising safeguarding alerts with local authorities.

“We have received reports that some care homes have been issuing ‘general policy’ related to visiting. We expect providers to follow government guidance on visiting. This clearly sets out that all care home residents can choose to nominate an essential care giver who may visit the home to attend to essential care needs. The essential care giver should be enabled to visit in most circumstances, including if the care home is experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 infections. Where we have any evidence that this is not happening, we will continue to take action.”

If you, a loved one or someone you care for would like to raise a concern about visiting in registered care locations, or about any other matter involving a person’s care, you can Give feedback on care, or call us on 03000 616161.

Acute hospitals and GP inspections postponed until New Year to support the booster programme

The acceleration of the vaccine booster programme, announced in response to new data about the spread of the Omicron variant, will require a massive effort from the NHS – which is already under severe pressure.

In recognition of this we are postponing on-site inspection activity in acute hospitals, ambulance services and general practice until the New Year with immediate effect – except in cases where we have evidence of risk to life, or the immediate risk of serious harm to people.

We will continue risk-based inspection activity in other sectors, including adult social care, mental health, independent health and dentists. We will also be offering additional support to acute hospitals and GPs in order to provide advice on the risks they are facing and to escalate these if necessary.

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Current vacancies include:

  • Inspector – Oral Health (Dental) – London (home based, region specific)
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New NHS patient surveys published

We’ve published results of two new surveys that look at the experiences of people using NHS services.

The 2021 community mental health survey

This year’s survey received responses from over 17,000 people who used NHS community mental health services in England in 2020 and 2021

We found that many people said their mental health worsened due to changes made to their care in response to COVID-19.

In many areas of care, such as access and communication, results have been declining for a number of years and continue to do so. Many results are at their lowest point through the eight-year period 2014 to 2021.

The 2020 children and young people’s survey

This year’s survey reveals what over 27,000 children and young people under the age of 16 and their parents and carers said about the hospital care they received during November 2020, December 2020 and January 2021 – a time when the second COVID-19 wave was at its peak and NHS services were facing extreme pressures.

Overall, most children and young people said they had been looked after ‘very well’ (73%) while in hospital (compared to 70% who said this in 2018) and 89% felt that the staff looking after them were ‘always’ friendly (87% in 2018).

Despite increased visiting restrictions being in place across most hospitals in England during the survey sample months, most parents (95%) said they were ‘always’ able to be with their child as much as they needed to.

While most children (70%) said they ‘always’ understood what hospital staff said when they spoke with them, just over three in 10 (31%) said they did not. These figures are unchanged since 2018.

Less than half (44%) of children and young people surveyed said that there were enough things for them to do in hospital (down from 50% in 2018), and over four in 10 (41%) said staff did not play or do activities with them.

One year on from our ‘Out of sight’ report

Our Out of sight – who cares? report, published in October last year, made recommendations to support changes in care for people with a learning disability, autistic people, and people with mental ill health.

We have now published a progress report to highlight what has been achieved so far and look at which areas need more focus.

Debbie Ivanova, Deputy Chief Inspector for people with a learning disability and autistic people, said:

“A year on from our report’s findings, we still find that too many people are being subjected to overly restrictive practices and inappropriate use of long-term segregation. Not enough people are getting the support and care they are entitled to, delivered in a way that demonstrates respect.”

Jemima Burnage, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals and lead for mental health, said:

“We welcome the ambition of the sector to deliver change but this must be met with a better range of higher quality services now. Without coordinated action and a whole systems approach, that utilises the breadth of expertise available across the sector, we risk missing an opportunity to deliver real change for people with learning disabilities, autism and a mental ill health.”

We will publish a fuller report, looking at each of the recommendations, in Spring 2022.