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Preparing for a CQC inspection

The key to ensuring your CQC inspection goes smoothly is thorough preparation. Practice manager Fionnuala O'Donnell pulls together key guidance and provides downloadable checklists and tips to help prepare staff.

A CQC inspection can be a daunting experience for any practice. To ensure the visit goes well practices need to set aside some time to prepare for what will actually happen on the day.  

The information in this series of articles has been pulled together from information on the CQC’s website, BMA guidance on CQC inspection and information on safeguarding that was collated by Londonwide LMCs.

Who needs to be in the practice on inspection day?  

Ideally the senior partner, the registered manager (who may be senior partner), the practice manager, the lead nurse and the infection control lead as a minimum.  

However, you want as many team members there as possible who can talk through the ethos of the practice what the practice does and how it does it.

Prepare your staff

A huge part of impressing the inspectors will be thoroughly prepared staff. Explain what CQC is, why it is important and what sort of questions they may get asked. For more advice on this see: Preparing your staff for a CQC inspection.

Run a mock inspection if you can, either with one of your team being the inspector or ask a neighbouring practice or you could ask one of your patients to help. Running through what the inspection will look like from an outsider’s perspective will help clarify which areas need work. Practising questioning staff ahead of time will also help them to feel more confident on the day and prepared for what they may be asked.

Prepare your patients

Your patients are your biggest asset and the inspectors will be interested in talking to patients to get their views. Talk to your PPG, ask if anyone would be happy to attend on the day of the inspection, ask them for their views on the CCQ’s key lines of enquiry and what they feel are the practice’s strengths and weaknesses.

Plan the day in advance

Make a timetable for the day. The inspectors ask for a 30-minute presentation to introduce the practice. The BMA has produced guidelines for what to include in this presentation.

The BMA also suggests preparing a welcome pack which has names and roles of key staff, practice leaflet and any other information you think might be useful.

Gather your evidence

A CQC inspection is a team effort. The purpose of a CQC visit is to measure the quality of care delivered by the whole practice not just one or two dedicated individuals. From the outset, stress that everyone in the practice need to be involved.

The CQC will want evidence that safeguarding, integrated working and monitoring vulnerable patients are regularly discussed, so it is a good idea to make sure you have minutes of meetings and examples of where you can highlight these issues being discussed.

The following resources on Medeconomics can help you prepare for the inspection:

Fionnuala O'Donnell is a practice manager in Ealing, West London, and a CCG board member

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