As some of you will know, before joining the CQC I was a GP for many years in Somerset and during this time I worked extensively with many friends and colleagues at the excellent Somerset LMC. As people who have worked with me know, I think healthy challenge and feedback is really important so we can continually improve what we do with the aim of improving patient care. I was therefore really pleased to see the motion Somerset LMC proposed at the recent LMC conference:
‘That conference believes that, as all human being creatures ‘require improvement’, CQC inspectors should therefore be required to wear a Hi-Visibility Jacket at work at all times emblazoned on the back with the legend ‘How’s my inspecting?’ together with a prominently displayed Freephone number to facilitate feedback.
The chair of the LMC in Somerset has probably seen me in a high-viz jacket as I sometimes bump into him at the local Parkrun on a Saturday morning, but very sadly I do not have the ‘How’s my inspecting’ printed on it. Maybe something to add to my Christmas list! However, on a serious note, feedback for inspectors is something I would really encourage and there are a variety of mechanisms for providers to do this
In an ideal world, I would like providers and inspectors to develop the type of relationship that will enable open dialogue from both parties, and for providers to give feedback directly to the inspector during the inspection and afterwards. The inspectors should be approachable, professional and clearly explain what they are doing during the inspection, and should give feedback in a supportive manner to enable the provider to learn and improve as necessary and we’d welcome providers to do likewise.
At the end of your inspection you’ll have an opportunity to feedback to the lead inspector, if for any reason you feel unable to do this then you can contact our National Customer Service Centre and they will share your feedback / or put you in touch with the appropriate person. If this doesn’t resolve your concerns you can find out how to make a formal complaint here. The CQC is a learning organisation and very much wants to continue to improve how we work to enable us to better deliver on our purpose ‘to make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and encourage care services to improve’.
As it’s coming to the end of the year I wanted to reflect on my first 9 months at CQC. I have enjoyed coming to all corners of England to visit GP practices, dentists, Integrated Care systems, prisons, independent clinics and meeting some of the specialist advisors at the Defence Medical Services base in Litchfield. What I have seen on many of my visits is the dedication of teams across all the services who are improving care for people who use their services, despite the pressures they are dealing with due to demand and workforce shortages.
We highlighted these pressures in our recent ‘State of Care’ report which brings together what we have seen over the previous year in the 75 inspections a day that the CQC undertakes, and as part of our recommendations called for an acceleration of ‘system wide’ working to improve services for people using them. On my travels, it has also been great to see the new models of care people are putting in place to manage growing demand and the increasing use of technology to support people getting access to the right care for their needs.
I’m also keen to make sure we highlight outstanding care when we find it, as part of doing this I’m part of a podcast episode looking at what outstanding care looks like in general practice. This is part of a new series of podcasts coming out towards the end of January, look out for more information soon!
My next blog will be in 2020 so can I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.