The independent regulator of health and social care in England has announced that it will be stopping all routine inspections in order to focus on supporting providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said that, during the pandemic, its primary objective will be to support providers to keep people safe during a period of unprecedented pressure on the health and care system.
However, it added that it would still use its inspection powers in cases where there is clear evidence of harm, such as allegations of abuse. Ian Trenholm, chief executive of CQC, said that the regulator would focus on providing support during this ‘global health emergency’.
‘In adult social care, our inspectors will also be acting as a support for registered managers, providing advice and guidance throughout this period in the absence of a single national body equivalent to NHS England,’ he said.
‘We are talking to social care providers about how to most effectively collect information from them to ensure that the Government has a clear picture of the impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector.’
Other support that CQC is offering includes the return of clinically qualified CQC special advisors to the frontline to help with the wider national response, for example, secondments of staff to DHSC, Public Health England and NHS England.
Their customer contact centre expects to start taking non-clinical COVID-19 calls from next week in support of 111.