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CQC Inspections. Consistent. Fair. Transparent. So Why the Lack of an Appeal Process?
After a fairly stressful CQC inspection, I wanted to challenge a judgement on my soon-to-be published report. I began searching the internet to find information on the CQCs appeal process and I was surprised to find that currently there isn’t one.
My understanding of the new inspection regime, implemented earlier this year, was that it allowed providers to request a re-inspection within 3-6 months, having had the time and opportunity to correct any concerns.
It appears that attempts to streamline the re-inspection process remain at conversational level, although there is hope there will be greater options available soon. However, as it currently stands, an inspector might not return for 6-12 months
So what should you do?
Providers have a time frame in which they can challenge factual inaccuracies only in their final report. I would present any evidence you have available to support your challenges.
I would suggest encouraging (read:badgering) your inspector to pay another visit as quickly as possible. Clearly if they have identified an area where they are not satisfied, it is in the interest of the regulator to come and check the concern has been rectified (even if it is something that you feel has been blown out of proportion).
I would be wary of asking for another visit without highlighting at least something has been done or changed, even if that is mainly to satisfy the inspector. The CQC handbook also mentions that an inspector may follow up by phone, so you may wish to encourage that as an option too.
You might also want to question how the inspector’s findings have led to a mark of ‘non-compliant’. Under the new CQC rating system, non-compliant (leading to ‘Requires Improvement’) has the following characteristics: ‘May have elements of good practice but inconsistent, potential or actual risk, inconsistent responses when things go wrong.’ In comparison, for ‘Good’ the characteristic is ‘consistent level of service people have a right to expect’.
Another potential avenue, if you wish to make your annoyance known, is to make a complaint. CQC suggests complaints should be made to the person you have been dealing with, who would then have to comply with the CQC complaints procedure.
But at the moment there is no solid solution.
The Inspection Report is a vital tool to the public to enable them to make decisions regarding the care and support of themselves and their family. Once the final report is issued it is too late to avoid reputational damage and the consequences - leaving a deep and livid scar on an otherwise unblemished record.