A large part of our work at Swift Management is working with providers from all areas of the health and social care sector, who find themselves in an enforcement situation with the regulators. In England, this being the Care Quality Commission. There is a view that consultants are expensive, but brought in sufficiently early high costs can be avoided.
Many of our clients call us or are referred to us by their solicitor when they are facing a Notice of Proposal or worse a Notice of Decision. This means they have had problems for quite some time and have not taken sufficient action to make the changes required by the regulator.
The team at Swift Management believes that very early intervention can stop situations escalating and result in a cost-effective solution avoiding enforcement action being taken.
We recommend that as soon as a provider receives an inspection report with the rating of “Inadequate” they contact a consultant immediately and before they complete the factual inaccuracy form. A well written evidenced-based Factual Inaccuracy form can really help. We can send a consultant to site to review the report and find any evidence to support a challenge within a very short space of time.
We are then able to complete a full audit of all the CQC KLOE’s and write an action plan to move the service forward before the next inspection and if required we can attend meetings with the regulators with a provider to help explain the situation. The involvement of a consultant is always viewed as positive by regulators.
During the period between inspections, we can provide both on-site support & regular reviews and updates to the action plan, which if required we can then forward to the regulatory inspector to demonstrate that improvements are being made. With our assistance and the provider’s cooperation we would expect service to have significantly improved by the next inspection and the rating to no longer be Inadequate. This prevents further enforcement action being taken and removes the need to take matters further.
When a provider has not engaged the services of a consultant and second inspection results in an inadequate rating being given, the provider can expect to receive notification of enforcement action being taken. This is usually in the form of a Notice of Proposal. A provider has 28 days in which to respond. This requires a different and very decisive response. Again, this is something we can assist with but provides a much narrower timeframe in which to work. It will often involve a two pronged approach with the use of a solicitor as well as a consultant. The aim is to prevent the Notice of Proposal moving to a Notice of Decision. In the event that a Notice of Decision is issued, all is not lost and one of our senior consultants is able to work with your solicitor to consider making representation to a tribunal and building the evidence portfolio to demonstrate compliance.
The legal route of enforcement is a long, time consuming and expensive one. The team at Swift Management Services recommend engaging a Care Consultancy at the very early stages; that is to say the very first draft inspection report rating a service receives an Inadequate, it is vital to both minimalize reputational damage and bring about the changes required to halt the process and improve ratings at the next inspection.
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