When CQC registration is on the line…First Impressions really do count!
When I first met my husband’s mother 15 years ago in a swanky flat in the Clifton area of Bristol, I ran my hand up the oak banister and admired the ornate cornicing and thick luxurious carpets.
On entering, I couldn’t help thinking my only other experience of such paintings, lovingly supported in rococo gilt frames, was in a museum.
I tried very hard to perch on the end of the seat, sit up straight and pronounce all my consonances. I couldn’t perhaps hide my rainbow hair and shaved undercut!
The good news!
The great news for me, is my mother in law was not the one deciding if I was the one! Those situations are of course slightly different. People can take on a bias and not really need a reason for it.
For providers in the health and social care sector, we have a more robust system! Your inspection should be based on fact.
So, let’s start with the basics –
What is a site visit?
Unlike an inspection of a regulated service, a site visit does not usually observe service users as there aren’t any at this point. It is an inspection of the physical building(s) where the regulated activity will be carried on or managed from. It checks the suitability of the premises, equipment, policies, procedures and structure of the service for the people it is intending to support.
A registration inspector should come, and depending on the size and specialism, there may be more than one. There will always be a lead, and they will most likely be the person you have dealt with via email or on the phone.
What are they looking for?
They will look at your application, and what you have set out in your Statement of Purpose. CQC will be looking at the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 and Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009 to see whether you will be compliant with them at the point of registration (ready to go).
They will have a record they will complete as they walk around to make sure they are asking relevant questions based on the regulations, they may have populated some of it with information you have already supplied on your application, supporting information and anything they have already gathered.
What do I need?
This is the tricky part…To be at the point of opening without being open! This means everything in place and being ready – just without service users!
How do I prepare?
- Check your application tallies with what you have in place – I would always recommend speaking with potential service users or enlisting people with similar need to ask their views at design and then once safe, on a visit.
- Make sure you are clear in your Statement of Purpose what you intend to provide and who you intend it for
- Ensure all building work is complete and signed off, fire certificates and insurances are in place.
- Have all plans, policies and procedures ready to be viewed – make sure they are tailored for your service.
- Put on your best stony face and pretend you are an inspector, pick up your application, start from the front of your service and write down what you are seeing against the regulations.
I can tell you for free it will be different from the proud achievement of what could have been 5 years’ hard work and your hard earned money in the planning. It will be real and critical, and it may well help you see some things you can change.
We do like a tip so here’s 5!
- Be ready!!!! Don’t let them turn up and find you aren’t ready to be inspected. Plan your time. They could get back in their vehicle and go home. I have been handed a hard hat and on another occasion, no one could seem to get in!!
- If you think you are going to be delayed with your services – tell them as soon as possible! Explain where you are at. It may be far enough through for them, or your application can be put on hold if absolutely necessary, inspectors would far prefer you were up front about any delays.
Read what you need to.
- Look on the CQC website as to what you need for
- Look at the guidance for the Regulations (a drop down under each regulation)
- It will also be helpful to look at the Key lines of enquiry for inspections of registered services for your sector. Although they will not all be relevant (as you are going through registration), a number of areas will apply and are based on the regulations and the 5 key questions.
- QCS also provide blogs, FAQs and a great customer service team to help you through the process.
Make sure you have the people that CQC want to speak with available on the site visit, able to answer questions and showing them around. This will be the nominated individual or Manager if your service requires them.
Remember… first impressions count. Think about your signage! Create the right impression by clear and direct signage. Make sure you follow your own signs around to make sure they do direct you to where you need to go.
Ensure your security is in place – Make sure the inspector signs in and out. Not only for security, but for your audit of how long they were with you inspecting. This may come in handy if you have any complaints to level.
Maybe I went in to that first meeting with my Mother-In-Law the wrong way around…I mean, those stairs were steep and the banister slippy… were those paintings properly secured?