COVID-19: CQC update for primary medical and dental services

care quality commission

The independent regulator of health and social care in England

COVID-19 Update


9 April 2020


A weekly update for providers and professionals working in primary medical and dental services, sharing the latest guidance on COVID-19 and CQC's approach during this period.



Joint statement on community based prescribing for COVID-19 symptoms

CQC has issued a joint statement with the General Medical Council (GMC) in response to questions around how recently produced NICE guidelines align with GMC and MHRA advice about the use of medicines that are unlicensed or outside the terms of their existing license (‘off-label’). 

Stay up to date with the latest CQC COVID-19 information

We're making changes to the way we work during the COVID-19 outbreak. We've developed a dedicated area on our website so that you can stay up to date with the latest information. Find out more.

Update for dental providers

We wrote to you on 3 April to address concerns you had raised with us around Local Urgent Dental Care Centres and provided advice on how dental care should be delivered until these are operational.

Notifications to CQC

There are no changes to requirements for you to make notifications to us, and notifications should be made in the same way as usual.

This may mean letting us know if your service is being negatively affected by coronavirus, it does not mean that you need to notify us of every single coronavirus related issue.   

We've published new guidance to help you understand how and when to notify us. This guidance also includes information registration applications and notifications for 'hot hubs / red sites'

Updated Regulation 16 (death notification) form

We would like to understand the numbers of deaths that are occurring due to COVID-19, whether suspected or confirmed. To do this, we have updated the Regulation 16 (death notification) form so you can indicate whether the death was a result of coronavirus (either confirmed or suspected). 

Please use this updated form to provide all Regulation 16 notifications from now on. We are aware that providers may have copies of the form saved locally on their computers – please replace these with the updated version of the form.

The information you provide will help us develop a more accurate picture of the number of deaths due to COVID-19, which in turn will help us to work with system partners to mobilise the right level of support. It will also help the inform the government response, so it can put in place appropriate measures to support the health and social care system during this time.

Visit our website to access the updated form.

Contacting CQC

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.

Mental health providers that need to send section 61 reports should do this by email. If you have an or CJSM secure email account, reports can be sent to If you do not have an or CJSM email account, please email reports as encrypted attachments to Visit our website for more information on mental health notifications.

In the event that we have to issue a formal notice, we will contact the provider by phone to discuss this and to confirm the approach for further contact. Providers are also reminded of their duty of care to people using their services. For those detained under the Mental Health Act, this may mean supporting people to access the internet or make telephone calls if they ask to contact us.

NHS Volunteer Responders: open to referrals from health professionals

An incredible 750,000 volunteers have signed up for NHS Volunteer Responders since it was launched on 24 March. NHS England and NHS Improvement has published guidance for health professionals to explain how the programme works and how to refer patients for support. We are encouraging health and social care professionals to start using the service to refer patients for support who you consider to be vulnerable. 

Royal Voluntary Service, the charity delivering the volunteer effort, will have completed security checks for the 750,000 applications by the end of Tuesday. Thousands of these approved volunteers will be offered tasks via the GoodSAM app and will start helping people safely, with more expected to get requests over the coming weeks as referrals ramp up.

Health professionals, pharmacists and local authorities can upload requests for help on the NHS Volunteer Responders referrer’s portal and volunteers pick the job they want to do that day and close the task once complete. Requests for support for individuals or organisations can be made by submitting details online via the NHS Volunteer Responders referrers’ portal. You can also call 0808 196 3382 to refer patients.

Tell us about your good practice and innovations!

We're looking for examples of where providers are innovating in various ways to meet the challenge of responding to COVID-19.

These may be, for example, as ‘simple’ as providing an iPad to help people in a care home communicate with their family, something more radical such as using staff in different ways or reorganising services, or introducing technological solutions.

We will share these with providers and other stakeholders so that they can consider if there are any ideas or innovations that would be suitable for their organisation. Please send examples to

Free refresher training for health and care professionals returning to work

Blue Stream Academy are offering a set of 'Essential Refresher Training' modules, available free of charge, to any professionals returning to work within the health and social care sectors. These modules are available to both clinical and non-clinical staff, and are designed to refresh returning staff members on the essential training required to safely deliver patient-centred care at this difficult time.

For more information please visit the Blue Stream Academy website, or register for access by getting in touch.

Interim methodology for Mental Health Act monitoring visits

We have written to providers of mental health services to update them on the interim methodology for Mental Health Act monitoring visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will be introducing new remote monitoring methods to continue our monitoring of the use of the Mental Health Act. This will include collecting data from a range of sources via phone, email or video calls. If we believe there to be a risk of harm, ill-treatment or human rights breaches for people detained in services then we will, with oversight from the Chief Inspector, carry out additional activity which may include a site visit.

We will focus on carrying out monitoring where there are known or emerging concerns, for example, allegations or complaints from people who are detained in the service. Our primary objective at this time continues to be to support providers and keep people safe.

For more information read the letter from Kevin Cleary, Deputy Chief Inspector (Mental Health) and Kevin Cleary’s blog on protecting people’s safety, equality and rights during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Guidance for primary care and dental services professionals

Accessibility resources to help you communicate about COVID-19

Further information

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