Our regulatory approach during the coronavirus pandemic

care quality commission

The independent regulator of health and social care in England


Our monthly update for local stakeholders interested in health and social care


                                                                                     April 2020

Safety and speaking up during the COVID-19 emergency

We've released a joint statement with the National Guardian to providers of health and adult social care. As the nation faces up to an unprecedented health crisis, we want to thank health and care staff all over England for their heroic responses to the many challenges facing them and the people they are caring for. Everyone who has a role in providing care, or who receives care in England, needs to be more vigilant so that we can reduce the risk of avoidable harm to people. We provide information and guidance for all health and care staff about how to speak up, and we have a quick guide on raising concerns on our website. The freedom to speak up has never been more important.

Inclusion of CQC data in ONS deaths reporting shows impact of COVID-19 on social care

We're working closely with ONS to provide a more detailed and timely picture of the impact of COVID-19 on adult social care, using the data on deaths of people with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 that we collect from providers.

The information provided to us by care homes via death notifications now forms part of the ONS' weekly reporting on deaths, ensuring a more complete and timely picture of the impact that COVID-19 is having on social care. Tragically, it is clear that this impact is a devastating one.

Our inspectors are contacting providers who have reported deaths of people in their care from confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in order to offer information, advice and help. These conversations are also happening with providers who have reported an increase in non-COVID 19 deaths to ensure they are confident of the steps they should be taking to continue to protect people.

Give feedback on care

It's more vital than ever that we hear people’s experiences of care during the Covid-19 emergency.

That’s why we’ll soon be launching a public campaign as part of the new Emergency Support Framework to encourage people to feedback on care - working with Healthwatch and the networkExperts by Experience, Think Local Act Personal (TLAP), people who use services and voluntary organisations.

We want to encourage people who use services and care workers to report poor care to give us that insight into what people are actually experiencing during this time. We want to hear about good care too so we can celebrate it and share good practice.

We'll have resources and information on the campaign soon, in the mean time, encourage your networks to give feedback on care by sharing this link: www.cqc.org.uk/give-feedback-on-care

Mother and baby

Safer faster: key areas for improvement in maternity services

In 2017, we released a report highlighting concerns about the safety of maternity services. Our current NHS maternity service ratings show some improvement since our first round of comprehensive inspections, and the number of services rated inadequate for safety has reduced considerably.  

We're now planning to develop our key lines of enquiry for maternity services so that we're able to better assess how trusts plan, provide and assure the delivery of high-quality, patient-focused maternity care.

Interim guidance on DBS and other recruitment checks

Following temporary changes made by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to DBS applications and processes – we've written to all registered providers to update them on what this means for them.

It's vital that people can be recruited or allowed to volunteer their support to services as quickly as possible, while making sure that the right checks are in place to keep people using services safe.

Joint statement on advance care planning

We've written to adult social care providers and GP practices with a statement prepared with the British Medical Association, Care Provider Alliance and Royal College of General Practitioners. The statement sets out our shared position on the importance of advance care planning being based on the needs of the individual. The importance of having a personalised care plan in place, especially for older people, people who are frail or have other serious conditions has never been more important than it is now during the Covid 19 Pandemic.

Tackling loneliness during coronavirus lockdown


The Government has launched a major effort to tackle loneliness and social isolation during the coronavirus outbreak and period of social distancing. The latest #Let’sTalkLoneliness public campaign has been rolled out to get people talking openly about loneliness, which includes new public guidance offering useful tips and advice on what to do to look after yourself and others safely. 

The campaign, initially launched last year, is being supported by famous faces across social media including TV presenter Angellica Bell and Karen Gibson, founder of The Kingdom Choir. 

Machine learning trials

NHS Digital, the national information and technology partner to the health and social care system, has announced the start of trials for a system that will use machine learning to help predict the upcoming demand for intensive care (ICU) beds and ventilators needed to treat patients with COVID-19 at individual hospitals and across regions in England.

Covid-19 testing for essential workers

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that all essential workers in England and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus will now be able to get tested. A new campaign will help essential workers in England - including NHS and care staff, teachers, hospital cleaners, public servants, the emergency services, supermarket staff, delivery drivers, and other critical infrastructure staff - to access testing.

Volunteers and NHS worker support line

The Samaritans, the emotional support charity to those at risk of suicide, is working in partnership with the NHS to launch a new confidential support line for NHS workers and volunteers in England. As part of their #OurNHSPeople wellbeing programme, all NHS in England staff can call the bespoke number between 7.00am and 11.00pm any day of the week and speak to a dedicated volunteer about whatever is on their mind.

What there is to know about testing for Covid-19

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing on testing for COVID-19 in England. It covers the different types of test that are in use and in development, as well as testing capacity and the criteria for being tested. The World Health Organization (WHO) has strongly encouraged countries to test suspected cases of Covid-19 disease to disrupt the transmission of the virus and slow the rate of infection. 

Help save the UK's charities with the 2.6 Challenge

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic effect with the cancellation of thousands of events and the loss of billions in income through fundraising events. The 2.6 Challenge, is a nationwide fundraising campaign launched in response to COVID-19 to help Save the UK's Charities. The campaign asks the people to dream up an activity based around the number 2.6 or 26 that suits their skills and fundraise or donate. It's open to anyone of any age – the only requirement is that the activity must follow the Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing. Read more or browse ideas and celebrity videos to find inspiration for your charity challenge.

Young people's mental health during coronavirus

Public Health England has published updated advice for parents and carers. The advice is to help adults with caring responsibilities look after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people, including those with additional needs and disabilities, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. They've also provided an an easy-read guide to looking after your feelings and your body

Bogus Covid-19 medical products

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has announced they are investigating cases of fake or unlicensed COVID-19 medical products, including self-testing kits and miracle cures. Lynda Scammell, MHRA Enforcement Official advised the public not to be fooled by online offers as there is currently no medicine licensed specifically to treat or prevent COVID-19, therefore any claiming to do so are not authorised.

Accessibility resources to help you communicate about COVID-19


Feeding back during the coronavirus pandemic

Although we paused our routine inspections, our regulatory role and core purpose of keeping people safe has not changed – safety is still our priority. During the coronavirus outbreak, it's more important than ever that we hear your feedback about services you've used or worked at.

You can use our give feedback on care service to let us know about your experience of care - good or bad. 

All Care Quality Commission offices are now closed. This means that we have stopped communicating by post, and ask that you do not send post to us. Please use other methods to contact us, details of which are available on our website.