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16th June 2021

CQC Data Release Anxiety

CQC have recently announced that they intend to release data showing notifications received from individual care homes relating to deaths of people with COVID-19. The data will be published at its 21st July public board meeting. CQC already report weekly data to the ONS of the total number of care home residents who have died from COVID-19, however, this will be additional data that includes location as well as numbers of deaths.

At a time when the full lessons of this pandemic have not yet been learnt and providers are still on this journey, it does raise the question, is now really the time to expose providers to the increased scrutiny that sharing this information is going to bring? Or is the time to review this data as part of a long-awaited Public Inquiry into the pandemic as a whole?

This move was in response to pressure from the campaign group COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice with previous attempts refused due to fears that disclosure of this information would cause service users wanting to leave their care homes.

Understandably, this recent announcement has the potential to cause anxiety for managers of residential services.

Some services have been devastated by loss not only of people who use the service but by key staff lost due to COVID-19.

It is hoped that CQC acknowledge this, and that this release of data has a caveat that explains why some services have been hit harder than others. Such as;

  • How many hospital discharges were made to those care homes without testing that may have directly led to outbreaks
  • How many hospital visits took place that led to COVID infections as a result already vulnerable individuals needing to go to A&E or Urgent hospital appointments

For the public, this data has the potential be used as a quality benchmark around safety that bears no reflection on the journeys some providers have travelled over the course of this pandemic. There is the potential for the public to use this data to seek compensation in response to COVID-19 death.

With an already struggling sector, reduced morale of managers and teams and poor outcomes on mental health this release could have far-reaching consequences moving forward due to additional spotlights placed again on how residential services are run and responded to the pandemic.

It is important for any provider, once they know that their services data is to be used, to prepare and set a well detailed response in motion and providers will be given advance sight of information before July 21st.

QCS Media and Data Protection Policies should be shared with all of your teams and refreshing the content during team briefings to ensure that if any contact is made to your service that it is handled appropriately by the right person.

Whatever the outcome of the data release, let us not forget that each and every piece of data refers to an individual whose family, friends and care staff are still grieving with this tragic loss of life.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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