The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says care staff must not be afraid to speak out during the COVID-19 crisis as it begins a managed return to routine inspections of lower risk services in the autumn.
It says its Emergency Support Framework (ESF) tool will be adapted and used alongside its responsive visits. Inspectors are already scheduling inspections of higher risk services during the summer.
CHM’s CQC special podcast on the ESF can be found here.
Kate Terroni, CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, says there has been an increase in calls from staff working in adult social care. Between 2 March and 31 May it received 2,612 calls compared to 1,685 for the same period in 2019.
Many of the calls related to a lack of PPE or other infection control products and concerns have been escalated to local authorities.
Thirty-two percent of calls included concerns about how infection control or social distancing was being practiced at the service they worked in and 4% of calls referred to quality of care being impacted by COVID-19.
“It’s in everyone’s interests that staff can speak up freely and are not prevented from raising their concerns about quality and safety – and all providers have a responsibility to support their staff to share concerns safely without fear of reprisal,” says Terroni.
She adds that staff have been going to extraordinary lengths to deliver good, safe care during this global crisis.
“If they are experiencing barriers to the delivery of that care, we want to hear from them. We are encouraged that so many staff have been brave enough to raise concerns with us.”