The CQC has assured providers that its approach to the regulation of mandatory COVID vaccinations in care homes will be proportionate.
Opening the Dementia, Care and Nursing Home Expo today, chief inspector of adult social care Kate Terroni said vaccination as a condition of registration would be looked at by inspectors “in the round of how well your service is run.” This would take into account the proportion of unvaccinated staff in a care home, quality of leadership, rationale for using unvaccinated staff and risk assessment, she clarified.
Turning to the CQC’s new regulatory strategy, unveiled earlier this year, she said that the CQC would prioritise rerating care homes “where it opens up capacity” in the care system. She added that the CQC’s new responsibility for regulating local authorities/commissioners would support care providers. She said: “Often quality of care is impacted by how you are purchased, and how much you are paid.” She said the CQC would spend the next two years looking to develop “active conversations” with commissioners to assess aspects such as fair cost of care.
In terms of regulatory priorities for the rest of 2021, she said that these include continued focus on IPC, responding to risk and increasing capacity.
She explained that the new regulation framework is based on 30 statements in six categories of evidence and ongoing assessment, and pledged that ratings would be updated in a much more active way.
Specific changes will include use of I/We statements, clear evidence of people’s experience of care and quality scores. The five key questions – Safe? Effective, Caring? etc, will remain, however. Examples of questions include: “I feel safe and am supported to understand and manage any risks.”
She also warned care homes that they face increased scrutiny of residents’ oral care and sexual safety, following the publication of CQC guides.
Since April 2020, the CQC has conducted 9, 162 inspections. Of the risk-based inspections 32 per cent found at least one breach, most commonly regulation 12 (safe care and treatment) and 17 (good governance).