The consequences of failing to adhere with Care Quality Commission’s regulatory framework for registration
To ensure the statutory responsibility was nevertheless fulfilled, the CQC conducted video conference calls with registered managers to ensure that it could still check in and satisfy itself that care homes were operating as required. Whilst halting routine inspections during the height of the pandemic was appropriate and necessary, this also restricted the CQC’s ability to carry out its statutory responsibilities, as it was unable to physically examine what was going on in care homes.
The CQC has now advised that it will return to normal operations which will include recommencing its unannounced routine inspections. It is without doubt that these inspections are crucially important to maintaining standards and protecting care home residents, however many are concerned about the potential risk of infection given the on-going spread of COVID-19.
Care home providers are rightly concerned that returning to routine unannounced inspections, when it would appear that a second wave with rapidly increasing numbers of infections is taking place, puts providers in a difficult position whereby they could potentially be allowing the virus into care homes and causing the further spread of the virus. In response, Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the CQC made the following statement:
"Most care homes are doing a fantastic job, but if we have concerns it's only right that we go and check that people are safe and take action to protect them where they are not. Our staff undertake a full risk assessment prior to any site visit, have completed infection prevention training and wear full PPE at all times."
"We are aware that a small number of adult social care providers have sent policies and guidance to our inspectors in advance of inspection. Some of these policies are attempting to restrict how our inspectors do their job and could cause risk to people using the service.
Some of the areas these policies cover are: requesting all inspections to be announced, limiting the number of inspectors on site, restricting the use of toilet and hand washing facilities, and requesting a negative Covid-19 test before an inspection.
Attempts to prevent or limit our ability to fulfil our statutory responsibilities are unacceptable."
We recognise that it is of course a difficult balance for the regulator to strike in the current climate. Whilst it is entirely appropriate for a statutory regulator to carry out its responsibilities to protect and safeguard service users, these are ‘unprecedented times’ and any outside visits from any individual could place some of the most vulnerable members of the community at risk of infection.
A careful balance must be taken to ensure that providers continue to meet their obligations and the CQC is integral to ensuring that takes place. In turn, providers must, as they have for this entire period, continue to take care of service users. Simply refusing an inspection is not appropriate; though ensuring that inspectors take proper precautions and are wearing PPE is essential.
As the CQC has rightly highlighted, any attempts to limit its ability to carry out its statutory responsibilities may be unlawful. Providers who refuse visits or prevent inspectors from conducting their visit may face regulatory action from the CQC.
If you have concerns about your responsibilities and a potential CQC visit, we have a specialist team that can advise you.
Sophie Bolzonello is an Associate, Australian Qualified, in Kingsley Napley’s Regulatory department. Sophie specialises in advising regulated professionals on compliance, in investigations and in respect of enforcement action. She also advises regulators on policy, governance, prosecutions and litigation.
Shannett Thompson is a Partner in the Regulatory team. She is a highly experienced lawyer taking the lead in defending health professionals before their regulatory bodies including the GMC. She has substantial experience in advising individuals in relation to their regulatory obligations in the wider context.
Associate (Foreign Qualified Lawyer)
Every solicitor knows that an undertaking is serious stuff. Arguably it is the greatest power available to a solicitor. A promise, if broken, that will lead to immediate and serious consequences for the giver. As such it can be relied upon to the ends of the earth. The power of undertakings has meant that they sit at the heart of every property transaction, bridging the time gap between the sending of money and the receiving of title. They are also used in other areas of commercial life and as part of litigation. The “brand” of a solicitor’s undertaking is so powerful that little thought is given as to where their power comes from.
This week, the Government announced that Covid-19 vaccinations will be made compulsory for care home staff, raising strong emotions on both sides of the argument.
Gone are the days of computer gaming being viewed as a secluded activity; gaming is now a thoroughly social experience that attracts a global audience of millions and players can compete for large sums of money and celebrity. This burgeoning industry is largely in a virtual world and has developed in a blockchain, decentralised fashion. Often the UK government talks up the UK gaming industry and how keen the government is to support this sector, and there have been instances that show support, but when it comes to playing games competitively, law and regulations have not yet caught up.
The COVID-19 crisis has forced sports clubs, schools, universities and charities to rapidly change their approaches to coaching, teaching and support work. The regulations on social distancing have forced organisations to innovate; services which had previously been offered mostly or wholly in person were rapidly shifted online during “lockdown 1” and will return online at least for the duration of “lockdown 3”. If the vaccine rollout has the desired effect there will no doubt be some return to “traditional” methods, but it seems very unlikely that the changes brought about by the pandemic will be completely reversed. In this blog, Claire Parry from Kingsley Napley’s Regulatory team and Fred Allen from the Public Law team look at the challenges organisations face engaging with children online.
Last week, the Department of Health and Social Care published a white paper, Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all (the ‘White Paper’), setting out legislative proposals for a new Health and Care Bill, planned to come into force in 2022.
Wray v General Osteopathic Council  EWHC 3409 (QB)
Mr Wray (‘Mr W’), an osteopath, appeared before a Panel of the Professional Conduct Committee (‘PCC’) of the General Osteopathic Council (‘GOsC’) after self-reporting a series of events he had been involved in.
In this 3-part tech blog series, we’ve explored how legal and accountancy regulators are driving and responding to changes in technology and innovation in their respective professions. We’ve also considered the commercial perspective, looking at interesting developments in these sectors , particularly around the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
In this second blog in our technology and innovation series, we look at some recent developments in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal and accountancy sectors.
On 18 November 2020, the government confirmed that it is proceeding with planned changes to the Victims' Code, following a consultation that began on 5 March 2020. The changes mean that when the revised Code comes into force, it will be based on a clearly defined set of rights that set out a minimum level of service that can be expected from criminal justice agencies. It is hoped that the changes will mean victims have a greater awareness of their rights, receive the information and support when then need it and have a greater level of satisfaction with the treatment they receive in the criminal justice system.
On 19 November 2020, the High Court handed down judgment in the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care’s (“PSA”) challenge to a decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal (“MPT”) to suspend a doctor from practice. In her judgment, Mrs Justice Farbey emphasises the significance of lack of insight to the question of sanction.
All providers registered with the Care Quality Commission (“CQC) must assure themselves that all directors who are responsible for delivering care to service users are fit and proper – in other words, they must be able to diligently carry out their responsibility to ensure the quality and safety of care. This forms part of the providers’ duty to ensure the service is well-led, which is one of the focus points during an inspection. Not only does the CQC monitor compliance at the point of registration, but it is an on-going duty and can lead to enforcement action where it is not met.
Private prosecutions provide an effective way to seek justice; and particularly in circumstances when the traditional prosecuting agencies are unable or unwilling to act. Conducted appropriately they can be a useful, efficient and cost-effective tool to secure punishment of the guilty. Conducted badly they can be an expensive mistake with far reaching consequences.
In this blog series we draw on our experience of both bringing and defending private prosecutions to help clarify some of the common myths and misunderstandings about private prosecutions. In this blog we look at whether the private prosecutor is entitled to recover their full investigation and legal fees at the end of the case.
The House of Commons Justice Committee has made a series of recommendations in its report published today which are likely to have a significant impact on the future of private prosecutions in England and Wales.
Although everyone hopes the now much enhanced critical care capacity in the UK will meet the demand from patients, there is a growing concern that the time will come during the COVID-19 pandemic when the NHS will be overwhelmed and the need for lifesaving interventions will exceed available resources.
The Charities Commission has recently warned that fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to carry out fraud and cybercrime against charities. Unfortunately, in our experience, the likelihood of the police taking action against these individuals is low. In the current climate it is easy to understand why the use of private prosecutions is firmly on the rise. In the past, some charities have been criticised for having an overzealous approach to the conduct of their private prosecutions. In this blog, we highlight the importance of taking a few simple steps to ensure that charities who conduct private prosecutions are beyond reproach.
With BBC reports that there have been 178,000 incidents of anti-social behaviour in the last four weeks across England and Wales alone, if a solicitor receives a fixed penalty notice for a non-essential journey away from home - do they have to inform the SRA?
With the COVID-19 lockdown extended in the UK until at least early-May, primary care practitioners and consultants, who have been increasingly turning to remote consultations or telemedicine to treat their patients, will inevitably see an increase in their use to address more complex medical issues.
In our previous blog, we discussed the introduction of the Coronavirus Act and how the emergency legislation impacts healthcare professionals. Understandably however, the situation is constantly evolving and the position must be regularly reassessed. With this in mind, we discuss below some of the recent, key updates impacting the healthcare workforce.
Last week we provided you with detail on the guidance to be aware of as a manager or owner of a care/domiciliary home in light of the current pandemic. The guidance is of course changing given the nature of the outbreak, so please read on for the key updates:
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recently issued guidance to athletes in which acknowledges the difficulties that the Covid-19 pandemic will cause, not just for athletes, but for the entire sporting community who are committed to protecting clean sport
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