Clare Ison, Practice Manager at Beaufort Dental Health Centre, tells her CQC inspection tale about what to expect from an inspection and some words of advice to anyone preparing for one.
I don’t think anyone relishes the prospect of being inspected by the CQC, but when I got the email and then a follow-up letter to confirm the date for the inspection, I felt prepared and ready – although I’d be lying if I said I was looking forward to walking into the unknown! As practice managers, we’re generally in control of every aspect of practice life – this was something that was totally out of my control, where all I could do was to prepare, get organised and have faith in ourselves as a team and the way in which we run the practice.
In preparation for the visit, we were asked to prepare a number of things; we were provided with a number of patient feedback cards that they requested were filled in between then and the visit. The inspector also asked that in addition to dentists and staff being available for interview on the day, that we identify at least six patients they could converse with about their experience and care at the practice. He advised he would be accompanied by a dental specialist adviser too.
My natural instinct was to involve the whole team, by working together we left no stone unturned, ensuring we had everything in place… and more!
We had a fair few staff meetings prior to the inspection, going over all of our policies and more importantly, making sure the team felt confident in their own knowledge and abilities. We’d recently invested in a CQC audit just before the inspection by Apolline – this proved to be extremely helpful. We all know what a challenge it is keeping policies and procedures up to date and so having the audit helped with the preparation for the inspection and gave us a safety net to fall back on.
Here we go…
The day of reckoning! Upon arrival, the inspector and his adviser wanted to see evidence of all the key lines of enquiry (KLOE’s). However, he did focus more on the ‘well-led’ KLOE, i.e. leadership, management and governance, which I wasn’t expecting.
They asked for an endless list of records: evidence of our recruitment process, interviewing records, pre-employment checks, inductions, job descriptions, DBS checks, contracts, qualifications, immunisations, CQC registration, indemnity, appraisals, copies of the last 12 months’ staff meetings, training of core CPD – just to name a few!
Staff interviews were incredibly thorough. Whilst I was being interviewed by the inspector, the specialist dental adviser was spending time with the rest of the team, quizzing them on procedures and policies that were in place.
I’m happy to say that we survived our inspection… but most importantly we passed! It was a learning curve for the whole team, old members and new. So, for those practices that are anticipating and preparing for an inspection, based on my experience, there’s a few pieces of advice I would share:
– Ensure that you fully understand what the KLOE’s are and what your practice is doing to meet them.
– Keeping records and evidence has never been as important as it is now. Make sure that you have the evidence to prove how compliant you are and how your practice keeps up to date with the changes in regulations.
– Don’t be afraid to obtain information and involve your team. Remember CQC regulations need to be a constant focus in the practice and definitely not to be ignored until the inspector comes knocking.