By Jenny Wilde, Senior Associate Solicitor, Ridouts
CQC inspections can be very daunting with care workers feeling the pressure of an inspector scrutinising their every move, looking for problems in documentation and in the way that staff deliver care.
CQC are placing more reliance on inspectors’ observations of the day to day delivery of care and this involves asking questions of staff during their normal (usually busy) shifts. We have had many clients who have received draft inspection reports from CQC that state that staff were unable to explain what certain elements of the care provision were and so have been deemed to not have the knowledge (more often than not this can relate to the MCA or DoLS, both complex topics).
The service as a whole is then deemed to either “Require Improvement” or be “Inadequate”. When registered managers spoke to the staff to determine what went wrong it became clear that the staff members had in fact understood the question and had extensive knowledge in the particular area being investigated, but had felt the pressure of the occasion and so had not been able to do themselves justice.
It is important that staff feel confident in answering questions posed to them and use an inspection as an opportunity to show off their knowledge to the CQC.
Staff undergo intense training and know a great deal about the policies and procedures that underpin the care delivered to service users. It is up to them to make the inspectors see that they are excellent providers of care and that they know exactly what they are doing!
Unfortunately, when faced with a high pressure situation such as an inspection, many staff members freeze and think that it is better to tell an inspector that they do not know something rather than attempt to answer and “risk” being wrong. Stating that you do not know something reflects poorly on your ability as a carer and the inspectors will not take into consideration the natural nerves that go along with an inspection. CQC will simply conclude that staff lack knowledge and that as a result, service users are being put at risk.
This is deeply unfair and Ridouts Solicitors has challenged this on a number of occasions by supplying CQC with evidence, after the inspection, that staff have received training in the relevant area and that they are in fact well versed in the area. Often this goes ignored and CQC leave the reference in the inspection report on the basis that it is what they observed on the day.
Staff should be empowered to gather their thoughts during an inspection and take the opportunity to show both the inspector and their employer what they are capable of.
Care staff are hardworking, dedicated and essential to any care business. Be sure to CQC inspectors should be shown how great you really are.