Despite our fears and trepidations most CQC inspectors, inspect fairly and appropriately. Most reports are generally well balanced and reflect the state of the home at the time of the inspection.
There are however, a few reports that that are not well balanced, or have factual inaccuracies. If this is the case you have 10 days to respond before the report is published. This has been reduced from 28 days. You have the right to make representation, and in most cases your argument will be taken into account prior to publication. There is no automatic right to appeal against the publication, however unfair you may think it may be. This does not mean that you should not attempt to persuade your inspector to see the outcome from your perspective.
The fact that time frame has been reduced to 10 days implies that CQC are confident that the findings of their inspections are accurate and without errors.
The time frame for submitting action plans remains unchanged at 28 days.
In one case a part time inspector wrote her report based on information provided by a visiting relative. She failed to investigate the allegation and hearsay by the relative; which led the home to have a number warning notices in at least 5 outcomes. Despite the protestation of the providers and evidence that contradicted the report, the report was published and the warning notices stood. It took a further inspection by the senior cqc manager and two other inspectors to vindicate the providers. Although no apology was provided a glowing report was subsequently published.
It is important that you establish a dialogue with your inspector and ensure that you have detail feedback at the end of the inspection. While it is understandable that at the end of the inspection day you are likely to ‘wind down’ it is crucial that you pay attention and write down feedback that is being provided. Ask question and correct any errors or misunderstanding. It is much easier to correct issues before the report is written.
While we have heard that the culture within CQC is changing we are all aware that it takes time to change attitudes.
In Francis report on Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Summary states
The evidence received by this Inquiry does not suggest that the CQC is a happy environment to work in. The massive upheaval that has taken place in its creation has led at least some elements of staff, from the frontline to the Board, to express concerns and to believe they have not received an adequate response. While it is clear that the CQC aspires to be an organisation which welcomes constructive comment, the Inquiry has seen evidence of defensive institutional instinct to attack those who criticise it, however honestly and reasonably those criticisms are made. A healthcare regulator needs to be a model of openness and therefore welcome constructive criticism
Once a report has been published and you find yourself non-compliant it is important that you set about addressing the issues of noncompliance. Depending of the nature and depth of the noncompliance you will be requested to be complaint within a very short period of time. A further inspection will check for compliance, if you are still not compliant you are likely to face enforcement action. You may face enforcement from your initial inspection depending the finding of the inspector.
If you believe that you have been judged unfairly and that the report is unduly skewed against you. MIT Consultancy can support you to challenge the inspection report by CQC.
If you are unsure how to be compliant contact MIT Consultancy we have many years of experience supporting clients with challenging inspection reports right through to first tier tribunals.