“I do compliance on a Friday.” Sound familiar? This is something I have heard time and again while visiting practices during my years in the profession. And, while it’s great that compliance is being done, for it to be done to the standard required and the entire team to have the level of knowledge expected by the CQC, it needs to be part of the everyday practice routine.
But how do you begin ensuring your team understands what is required of each of them and embedding compliance into their normal routine? Below is my advice on how you can do just that and make achieving CQC standards a less burdensome task:
Share knowledge in staff meetings
As a team leader it’s part of your role to know what compliance means for each team member and to police that individuals understand their role and are fulfilling it as a matter of course. If they don’t they are unlikely to see it as just ‘part of the job’.
Monthly staff meetings offer the perfect opportunity to discuss and check that policies and procedures are understood. You can also share your knowledge, perhaps by taking one or two requirements and breaking them down into chunks to work through during the meeting.
Have regular mock inspections
Practice makes perfect, so what better way to prepare for a CQC inspection than practising what actually happens. These could form part of a staff meeting or be done on a more ad-hoc basis, and can consist of asking staff the types of questions they might get during an inspection. For example, ask someone to fetch the defibrillator, or the contact details for who to report a safeguarding issue to.
The CQC expects your team to know the answers to questions like this without hesitation, and the easiest way to help them retain this knowledge is by practising.
Observe your team
As well as inspections, carrying out observations of your team is a useful way of ensuring they are carrying out policy requirements, for example in the decontamination room.
This will allow you to confirm that your staff understand and follow the policy, and will also highlight any improvements needed or training requirements within your team.
Write your policy down
Some of your compliance tasks do come down to just one or two people, for example the recruitment process and induction. However, you need to make the process and requirements as transparent and consistent as possible so that in your absence they are easy to adhere to, and again become habitual.
The CQC expect to see a handbook which states the policy and processes in place. So, whilst you may be complying with requirements already and can demonstrate that in action, it must be written down as well.
Use a compliance tool
There is support out there and you could choose to use a compliance tool which can help you to keep track of compliance requirements needed within your practice.
Some of these software applications also enable you to delegate tasks, ensuring compliance remains a team activity. By using a tool, you can make it easier for your staff to carry out their tasks and evidence that they are doing so.
In summary, the key to making sure your staff are involved with compliance as part of their everyday routine is ensuring they fully understand the part they, and their colleagues, play. And the easiest way to do that is to share your knowledge, break it down into bite-size pieces, deliver training – and repeat, and then of course, police that it’s happening.