In 2016, a survey of over 1900 GP practices revealed that only one in ten practices felt that their CQC rating was a fair assessment of the quality of care they provide. This sentiment is shared by other care providers, including Residential Care Homes.
There is a huge amount of expense and time taken up for inspections which could be better utilised to care for patients and in fact, 74% of GPs in the survey, felt that the inspection regime has made them more likely to leave general practice. It is also worrying to note that, one in four practices said they are less likely to raise concerns about practice pressures due to fear of CQC reprisal. It appears that CQC inspections, far from improving patient care and safety, have severely impacted it in negative ways.
CQC Inspection Reports can have a significant impact on health and social care providers. A poor report can harm a provider’s reputation and reduce the provider’s ability to attract and retain service users. Whilst a good report can bring substantial benefits for the provider as it is an endorsement of the provider’s performance in caring for its users.
Providers are sometimes reluctant to challenge reports even when they believe the reports contain inaccurate or misleading information. However, it is important to challenge any inaccuracies as, failure to act is deemed to be an acceptance of the facts. Furthermore, a succession of reports showing non-compliance may lead to significant enforcement action by the CQC. This may be costly and could have devastating consequences for the provider.
The timescale for responding to reports is short but, Milne Moser Solicitors will respond swiftly to provide a thorough, evidence backed response. In challenging the accuracy we will look at how the inspector arrived at the judgment; we will review the regulator’s guidance and we will consider the approach taken by the Inspector when conducting the inspection.
We will work with you to collect, review and present evidence to the CQC which will demonstrate compliance.
If necessary, we will pursue a complaint against the CQC on your behalf or; forward a pre-action letter should he CQC fail to properly consider representation made on your behalf.
Our aim is to seek amendments to the report or to seek re-inspection of your establishment.
Challenging Warning Notices
Repeated non-compliance following an inspection or, failure to comply with legal requirements can lead to a Provider being served with a Warning Notice.
Warning Notices are often the first formal enforcement option used by the CQC and the CQC has the power to publish information about them and frequently does so. It is therefore, important that Providers take the opportunity to make representations about why a Warning Notice should be withdrawn if they feel that the Notice is based on an erroneous conclusion or, if it is disproportionate and unfair to the Provider. In fact, failure to challenge the Notice will be viewed as acceptance by the Provider of the appropriateness of the enforcement.
The CQC can also issue Fixed Penalty Notices which carry heavy fines. Once information is published in respect of a Penalty Notice, the harm to a Provider’s reputation can be significant. Milne Moser Solicitors can help. We will challenge the accuracy of any Warning Notice or Fixed Penalty Notice where appropriate and we will draft representations as to the validity of Fixed Penalty Notices, supporting our representation with appropriate evidence and mitigation.
If you are a Care Provider, whether a GP Practice or a Care Home, and need advice on a CQC inspection, contact us now for a confidential chat about how we can help.