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Providers Holding Back From Relieving Skills Shortages in Care Sector.


Healthcare and adult social care providers have now only two weeks with which to complete their Care Quality Commission(CQC) registration forms. The regulator believes that this new registration process will prove essential in driving up quality in healthcare, reaching the standards set out in the CQC’s December 2009 publication ‘Essential standards of quality and safety’.

The new system means that many businesses will currently be anxious that their registration might not be processed, something not guaranteed in the application procedure. The documentation states that ‘Where a decision has not been reached by 1 October, then the offence of carrying on a regulated activity while unregistered will apply.

Even those that are registered will find that they are approved ‘with conditions’, while a Notice of Proposal will be sent to those who have part or all of their application refused, and there will be a 28-day period to submit an action plan, from which time there is no obvious timetable to how long providers may be granted before enforcement action becomes likely.
So far, at least, there has been little indication that the application process itself has not been ‘user-friendly’, as the Commission promised.

The CQC’s intention is that, once re-registration is complete, quality standards will be more easily monitored through a ‘more responsive and dynamic system of regulation’, the main difference being a focus on outcomes rather than policies and procedures, making care providers more accountable for results than for methods. There will be a further complication for successfully registered providers who wish to expand into new services or locations, who will now need to apply to ‘vary’ their registration in order to do so.

One of the more ambiguous results of the process is the transformation of the now familiar ‘star process’, and the CQC has not been over-keen on offering any absolutes prior to registration as to whether a Good or an Adequate rating will be the minimum requirement, ‘We are in the process of consulting on the future of the quality rating system,’ even going as far as to refuse a guarantee that current ‘Good’ and ‘Excellent’ rated services will automatically achieve registration, though it is expected that most, if not all, of these services will.

No doubt the industry will soon find out whether the experience has been largely positive or negative for those involved. A number of staff suppliers are holding back until the fate of potential clients is known as providers especially from Eastern Europe don’t want to run the risk of having staff on a contract basis where clients might lose the ability to trade.

We know of one group that has > 100 pre-approved English speaking Polish care workers ready to come to the UK when the review outcome is known.

 

Author: Chris Slay

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