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Don`t get caught with your policies down!
I keep seeing CQC inspection reports with non-compliance issues that have common factors. Yawn, Yawn, I know it`s a pain in the neck, but some of these common faults are easy to avoid. This is especially true when we know that there are some aspects of practice management and provision of care that are particular priorities for CQC.
One such issue is still a bit alien to many practitioners and highlights Safeguarding, Children and Vulnerable Adults. Every month a number of dental practices are found non-compliant, with Moderate Impact, for not having assured staff familiarity with policies and processes. In simple terms, this means one must have initial policies, evidence of review of policies and evidence of staff having read the policies. So far so good. During a CQC inspection, it is very likely that staff will be asked questions about safeguarding issues. They will need to know the procedures for reporting concerns and where to find the contact numbers for outside agencies involved in protection and safeguarding. The CQC also think it is important that details of this are available for patients and relatives too. So, if you haven`t already, make sure there is –
- A record of `reading` of policies
- A record of training (or proof of booked training)
- A poster on the staff notice board containing outside agency contact details
- A notice or folder in the waiting area with a précis of the policy and contact details
Level 2 training in Child Protection and Protecting Vulnerable Adults can usually be found through local Commissioning Groups, hospitals or Social Services. This is quite often free. Practice Managers should get on the phone and start tracking this resource down in the locality. I can`t over emphasise that this is a real issue for CQC, but on the other hand it is something that dental practices have considered high priority before registration. It will take a period of cultural change in general dental practice for this aspect of patient care to become more natural to consider, but we mustn`t get caught out in the mean time.
Another common non-compliance issue concerns full, or overflowing bins, in `clean` areas. It should be so obvious to check all the clinical waste bins, sharps containers and other waste bins within the practice just before an inspection. However, some practices manage to overlook this and end up with egg on their face (or used gloves on the floor!).