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With just less than 24 hours notice the CQC informed us that an inspection team, comprising 3 inspectors, would be descending on us to carry out a review visit. We had our first full CQC inspection in November last year and they wanted to come and check that we had implemented their recommendations.
The initial feelings of panic about an impending visit quickly change to a feeling that we must get ready and organised quickly. We went through the actions from our last inspection and satisfyingly ticked them off, knowing that we had completed them. What we needed to do now was to ensure our records and evidence was up to date. We reviewed our documentation, updated our folders and individual action plans to show what our next steps would be for all outcomes.
We also took the opportunity to update our practice action plan and review all of our actions in case the CQC wanted to look at any other areas. The CQC could review any of the essential standards and particularly those areas to be highlighted because of emerging national concerns or local issues. With no idea what they were going to come and check we felt that we needed to be ready for anything.
The inspection team were friendly but understandably direct in their questioning. They spoke to staff and also to patients in our waiting room. When they announced their visit the day before they requested to speak to someone from our Patient Participation Group (PPG) and we managed to arrange for a representative to be available. The inspection team reviewed information about our service, including our records, systems and processes and evidence that we were meeting the standards.
The inspectors came to check only the areas that we had implemented, following their recommendations last time. We were able to demonstrate where we had made efforts to meet the standards and show future developments that would enable us to meet the expectations of the new inspection regime from October. Our next visit probably won’t be until next year so our focus will now be on how to meet the new inspection requirements.
Advice for inspection revisits
My advice to other organisations that are due to have a revisit inspection would be:
- Review the actions from your last visit.
- Ensure you have evidence to show how you have achieved those outcomes.
- If you have been unable to meet some outcomes ensure you can demonstrate what steps you are taking, with timescales.
- Stay positive and engage with the inspection team, in my experience it proves for a much more constructive experience.
Alison Lowerson – QCS Expert GP Practice Manager Contributor