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14th August 2020

Emergency Support Framework Guidance Dental Services (Last update: 14.08.20)

Download your copy of the Emergency Support Framework Guidance Dental Services here

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Emergency Service Framework (ESF) calls are now taking place

We wrote to you in June advising that the ESF had been rolled out to dental services and they would commence on 15 June.

We know that these calls are happening, and we want to help you to prepare for these.

What is the Emergency Support Framework?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Emergency Support Framework (ESF) is the way the CQC maintains an oversight of your service and gets ‘first-hand’ information to inform the national picture. The ESF is based around a conversation with you, during which they will ask you a few set questions. These questions help the CQC understand how well you are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, whether additional support may be required and also if you are continuing to deliver safe, effective care for the people you support during the increased pressures caused by the pandemic.

When can I expect a call?

The CQC started using the ESF framework for Dental services from 15th June.

The CQC will arrange a time that is convenient with you for the call, so you can be prepared for the conversation. They will not call you unannounced or expect you to fit in around their arrangements.

Who do the CQC want to talk to?

The CQC will normally want to speak with the Registered Manager or owner as they are the person with responsibility for the service. If there is no Registered Manager in place, or they are unavailable, then the most senior member of staff with the widest knowledge and understanding of the service should be made available for the call.

What will they ask me about during the call?

The call will focus on four main themes. The focus of the questioning is how you have managed the service during the pandemic and mitigated the impact of any concerns you have had:

  1. Safe care and treatment
  2. Staffing arrangements
  3. Protection form abuse
  4. Assurance processes, monitoring and risk management

How should I prepare for the ESF call?

You should read this guidance and other information on the CQC website to make sure you are aware of the structure of the call and the questions that are going to be asked. The CQC wants to hear your feedback and what your concerns are, and the areas in which you think that you have been innovative to ensure the best outcomes for people who use your service.

What are the individual questions under each theme?

There is a total of 15 questions across the four themes, and the CQC page detailing these is here.

Are the calls seen as an inspection?

No. The CQC is clear that the ESF calls are not classed as an inspection and as such, the report isn’t published on the website, there is no ‘factual accuracy’ process and your rating will not be changed as a result of the call. You do need to be aware, however, that their findings will ascertain any level of risk which may prompt further discussions.

Is there a written report of the call?

Yes. The CQC produces a ‘summary report’ of the conversation that is sent to you as a PDF

attachment to an email. This report will include:

  • The 15 questions that were asked and some standard wording that reflects your answer to each question
  • Details of any innovative ways you may have developed to manage the situation
  • A summary of the specific internal and external risks and challenges that were discussed
  • Any sources of support that the CQC suggested to help you
  • A short summary of whether the CQC has assessed if your practice is ‘managing’ or ‘needs support’

What will the CQC do after the call?

The CQC may do a number of things dependent upon whether they think you are ‘managing’ or ‘needing support’.

If they assess you as ‘managing’, there will normally be no further action taken as a direct result of the call, but your inspector will stay in touch with you and may plan another call if there is information that your situation has changed. The record of the call will be used to inform regulatory planning beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

If the CQC come to the opinion that you ‘need support’, they have a number of avenues that they will explore with you, dependent upon the nature, scale, and impact of the concerns on your service. They may:

  • Provide additional sources of support and suggest ways for you to manage more effectively
  • Arrange a follow-up call to discuss progress with you

Who will the CQC share information about us with?

The actual summary record document will not be shared with anyone else apart from you, but if you want to share it you can do. However, if there is information that the CQC feel is appropriate to share with the other partners, they will.

*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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