COVID-19 EXPERT LEGAL INSIGHTS

Updates to the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) COVID-19 Guidance

7 April 2020

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:

Interim Guidance on DBS and other recruitment checks 

Many providers will need additional staffing resources to assist with managing the implications of the virus outbreak. To assist with quicker recruitment, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has made temporary changes to DBS applications and processes, which will remain in place while the Coronavirus Act 2020 remains in force.

Providers will be able to access a fast, free, Barred List DBS check for emergency roles being recruited while enhanced DBS checks are being processed.  The results of an enhanced check will be issued afterwards.

You can access the Barred List if:

  • Providers need staff to start urgently;
  • Waiting for a full DBS check could cause undue delay; and
  • The delay could lead to risks to continuity of service, impacting the safety and wellbeing of people using the service.

The CQC stresses the need for providers to still exercise due diligence in other recruitment checks (such as reference checks or similar). In short, whilst providers will be able to take advantage of this service, this does not negate the need for appropriate risk assessment and evidence-based decision making taking into account the service needs during the emergency.  

We would advise you to keep careful records of your decision making and recruitment practices during this time.

It is also worth noting that the CQC has pledged not to take a punitive approach where providers recruit new staff in line with the DBS Guidance.

 

Supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 

The CQC has shared the Department of Health & Social Care’s update on PPE. A Parallel Supply Chain is being implemented to support the normal supply chain of PPE and non-PPE products to providers.

Providers in need of urgent PPE should contact the National Supply Disruption Response which has also been mobilised due to the crisis. 

 

CQC COVID-19 Registrations 

The CQC has recognised that some providers may wish to deliver additional health and social care services which contribute to the control of the outbreak or treatment of people who have contracted the illness.

The CQC has set out guidance on its website on how to go about registering for the first time, or how to change your registration to change your service offering.

This of course will be an unusually challenging time for existing and new providers.

All providers must ensure they continue to meet their obligations under the CQC framework which are particularly important during such a health crisis.

 

Please get in touch with our regulatory team if you require tailored advice.

About the author

Sophie Bolzonello is an Associate, Australian Qualified, in Kingsley Napley’s Regulatory departmentSophie 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. 

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