The safe CQC standard and how to achieve an improved rating
25 April 2022
Healthcare services are always striving to deliver safe care, but some may struggle to achieve the level they would like. The key lines of enquiries (KLOE) are the markers and guidelines used by the CQC to assess healthcare services and award a quality rating. These ratings are given based on whether healthcare organisations perform against five main questions, one being: “Is your service safe?”
In this blog, we will address what is meant by safe care, the service requirements, common roadblocks faced by organisations, and how advanced technology can help achieve an outstanding rating and deliver safer care.
What is meant by safe care?
The CQC definition:
“By safe, we mean people are protected from abuse* and avoidable harm.”
*Abuse can be physical, sexual, mental or psychological, financial, neglect, institutional or discriminatory abuse.
Requirements of healthcare organisations
The safe KLOE focuses on how your service is actively protecting both your staff and service users from harm, abuse, harassment, and breaches of respect or discrimination. The CQC evaluate services based on their approach to safety, how they enforce it daily, as well as how it is monitored and investigated when incidents or accidents occur. Whether or not this is achieved can be broken down into six principal areas:
S1) Organisations must have systems and processes in place to safeguard patients and workers from abuse, neglect, harassment, and discrimination. Efficient training is needed to ensure that all service users and staff are fully informed and to reduce the risk of a breach.
S2) How your organisation assesses all aspects of your service, identifies potential risks, and manages those risks to support the safety of all. This includes the cleanliness and hygiene standards and any equipment used by both patients and staff.
S3) All staff must be provided with the right training, tools, and technology to be able to perform their role efficiently, effectively, and safely – for the sake of both employees and patients.
S4) How healthcare services ensure the proper and safe use of medication. This means that anyone handling, administrating, or prescribing medication must be fully qualified and authorised to do so. Official records and evidence must be kept up to date to ensure that all drugs are handled safely and appropriately.
S5) Infection control can be carried out by performing consistent and extensive risk assessments and staying on top of hygiene standards.
S6) How your service shows their ability to recognise risks, create pro-active action plans, and support steps to improve their service for both patients and workers is important. CQC regulators want to see a proactive approach to safety, by ensuring that workers understand all their responsibilities.
Common roadblocks that organisations encounter when demonstrating and delivering safe care
Evidencing safe care
All healthcare providers have a duty of care and try their utmost to ensure that their services are safely delivered to all involved bodies. However, amongst the paperwork, spreadsheets, and lack of person-hours, essential reports, audits, and other evidence can be misplaced and overlooked. Nonetheless, when it comes to CQC inspections and patient safety these are the areas that need to be accurately evidenced.
Identifying and managing risks
Another common issue that healthcare services struggle with is identifying what the safety risks are in their organisation. For instance, does the equipment get regularly checked to ensure that there are no potential risks there? If something breaks, is it flagged to the right people? Is this then followed up with regular updates and checks?
Alongside identifying and managing risks, it is equally important to then create and implement action plans to prevent them from reoccurring. This can be a challenging task to do when workers are stretched for time and resources and are not familiar with creating them.
Moving from an ‘Inadequate’ to a ‘Good’ CQC rating in such a short period of time is a significant achievement and the implementation of Radar Healthcare has been instrumental in this. We have an overall picture of the quality of care we are delivering; we can see where things are going wrong but more importantly, we have access to data and information which helps us prevent things from going wrong in the first place. It has provided the team and the CQC with confidence that we now have the systems in place to deliver the highest standard of care.
How does Radar Healthcare support safe care?
Our advanced software allows healthcare providers to deliver safe care, and support them to prepare for CQC inspections, and provide sufficient evidence to achieve a good or outstanding rating.
Orri Ltd recently were awarded an outstanding rating on their CQC Inspection Report. The report notes that Orri’s high marks were granted based on their efficiency and oversight of evidencing and reporting on incidents, complaints, staff sickness, policies, audits, and safeguarding referrals, which were conducted through Radar Healthcare’s quality and compliance software.
Let’s take a look in more detail at how Radar Healthcare helps organisations accomplish safe care:
Our risk management module allows you to revolutionise the way you identify, track, and manage issues and potential threats within your organisation. Radar Healthcare comes with configurable risk registers and action plans, that help you visualise what risks are prevalent, which are critical, see if there are any trends, and begin structuring plans for improvement.
Risk management supports services with regulatory compliance, while also bettering the performance and safety of your healthcare organisation.
Radar Healthcare’s auditing software is designed to make auditing and preparing for inspections easier. It allows healthcare organisations to evidence good governance and compliance, follow up with quality improvement processes, and conduct practice mock audits for each KLOE.
Incident and event management
As we have discussed above, regulators are looking for evidence of ‘ability to learn’. Our cloud-based incident management system helps our partners log incidents, all the associated requirements, and create a strategy of action to adapt methods to prevent risks and issues from happening again. In addition, all notifications and mandatory forms are triggered so nothing is forgotten.
Action and improvement plans
It is important to be able to show a proactive approach to safe care. Radar Healthcare’s digitalised action plans act to allocate, plan, and review steps of improvement to methods, performance, and strategies. Linking action plan items with audits and incidents loops everything together for better communication, reducing workload, and avoiding duplication.
Adequate training of employees is essential for delivering safe care. Radar Healthcare helps you ensure care workers are fully compliant and experienced to perform care safely. Our customisable workforce compliance software gives you complete visibility of everything that has been completed.
Find out if you are CQC ready with our interactive checklist!
More in our latest blog series about CQC's KLOEs