Emergency transport and ambulance services are an area of healthcare that has rapidly had to adapt in recent months. This has been particularly difficult for independent ambulance services. As part of the Emergency Support Framework, the CQC has released information which outlines the areas of discussion that may arise between an inspector and these services.
The CQC will focus on four different areas, with the intention being to highlight any areas in which services may require support. The inspector that interacts with a service may not cover all the questions, but they will look to establish a clear understanding of your organisation.
The first area which they look to cover will be ‘safe care and treatment’, which covers everything from infection prevention and control (IPC) to waste disposal. Primarily, the inspectors are looking at whether service providers have sufficient IPC measures to deal with COVID-19 and whether these are being audited to ensure staff compliance. In addition, services must show that systems are in place to identify people who have been, or are at risk of, being infected.
‘Staffing arrangements’ and ‘risk management’ are two other areas that will be assessed in discussions with inspectors. The CQC will look to see how the pandemic has affected the provider’s ability to handle staffing shortages and if the personnel have the right knowledge and skills to provide people with care. Furthermore, they will assess whether the service has been able to protect the health and safety of staff, and whether they have implemented effective systems to monitor the quality and safety of care.
The final area of discussion will be regarding ‘protection from abuse’ – which will analyse how the people utilising the service have been safeguarded from abuse, neglect and discrimination. The CQC will also look at whether the provider has been able to properly manage any incidents and concerns throughout the pandemic.
The CQC will decide which providers need to be prioritised and which areas to discuss with individual services based on ‘data indicators’ – which could be the time since last inspection, whether they received a complaint about the service, if a registered manager is not in place or whether there have been any unexpected deaths in the last 12 months.
The full updated guidance can be found here.