A special update for providers and professionals working in adult social care
We take our role in infection prevention and control (IPC) very seriously and have been considering the precautions our inspection teams should take as we increase our on-site activity.
We have consulted with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) about accessing COVID-19 tests for inspectors.
DHSC have considered the matter carefully and have assessed that CQQ inspectors do not meet the criteria for weekly asymptomatic testing, as inspectors are not required to undertake ‘hands on’ closer personal contact with people.
This decision also applies to other colleagues undertaking inspection visits, such as specialist advisors and experts by experience.
This approach is in line with what has been agreed with other professionals, and DHSC will continually review their policies in line with emerging evidence. If the evidence means the criteria needs to change, they will advise us accordingly and we will update you.
Our priority is to ensure the safety of people using services, your staff and our colleagues. We are therefore taking the following measures:
- Thorough risk assessments ahead of all inspection and registration visits
- Provision of PPE for colleagues undertaking on-site activity, and training in how to don and doff correctly
- Training in infection prevention and control
We know that some providers are concerned that CQC colleagues will not be having a COVID-19 test before their visits, however we want to assure you that we have considered this carefully and are acting in accordance with advice from DHSC as well as implementing our own IPC measures.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) for CQC inspectors
When we first resumed on-site activity, we supplied our inspectors with a pack of PPE which included a surgical face mask, gloves, apron and eye protection wear. This decision was based on the risks at the time and in the interests of protecting our colleagues, your staff, and people using services.
Public Health England (PHE) has since published new guidance detailing what PPE should be worn in different circumstances in adult social care.
We will therefore follow PHE guidance and use this to inform our decisions of what PPE is appropriate for the different circumstances. However, in some cases, our inspectors may choose to wear a higher level of PPE due to their own personal circumstances, such as if they are in higher risk category.
Inspectors signing disclaimers against insurance claims
Some adult social care providers have asked whether they can require CQC inspectors to sign a disclaimer before or during an inspection visit to a service, to confirm that they will not make any insurance claim on the provider in relation to consequences from a COVID-19 acquired infection caught whilst on the premises.
We have considered this and have advised our inspectors that they should not sign any such disclaimers when visiting services as part of our regulatory role.
Under section 62 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008, inspectors may enter any premises which are, or which the inspector reasonably believes to be, regulated premises. The inspector can enter using their power under s62 or they may enter with the consent of the provider at those regulated premises. In both instances it would be inappropriate for an inspector to sign a disclaimer in relation to any illness, injury or other harmful event that might occur to them while at those premises.