As a private clinic owner in the UK, you’ll know how crucial it is to provide the best care for your patients. One way to demonstrate your commitment to quality is by obtaining an outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). This is the highest you can get.
In this blog, we’ll dive into what a CQC rating is, why you need it, and, most importantly, how to achieve an outstanding CQC rating for your clinic. Let’s get started!
What is a CQC rating?
The CQC is an independent regulator of health and social care in England and is responsible for ensuring that all healthcare providers in the country meet certain standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.
Its primary goal is to ensure that health and social care services are safe, effective and well-led. The CQC assesses healthcare providers against a set of fundamental standards and assigns them a rating based on their performance in key areas.
Who needs a CQC rating and why?
If you own a clinic in the UK, you may need to register with the CQC. Clicking here, you’ll find the services that need to be registered.
The rating serves as an indication to patients, healthcare professionals and the public at large about the quality of care provided by you and your clinic. An outstanding CQC rating not only enhances your reputation but also builds trust amongst your current patients and prospective patients. It adds credibility to your claims and should be on your list of priorities!
Understanding the CQC inspection process
Before we go into the steps you can take to obtain an outstanding CQC rating, it’s important to understand the CQC inspection process.
This comprises five key areas: safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.
CQC collect information about services in various ways. These include comments from patients and staff received via the feedback form, phone calls and emails, along with information from other organisations. An outstanding rating in one area will not guarantee an outstanding overall rating.
The inspection team will be made up of professionals with experience in the industry. Announced and unannounced inspections may take place, so make sure you’re not caught off guard!
How long does it take to register and get your CQC rating?
It could take several weeks to prepare everything you need to register, while the process of applying can take up to 8 hours.
CQC state that within 12 months of registering, you’ll have your first inspection, which will give you an initial rating.
Steps to getting an outstanding CQC rating
We’ve outlined some steps to ensure you get the best rating possible for your clinic. Follow these and refer to CQC’s website for more information on what they look for.
1. Conduct a self-assessment
Before the CQC comes to inspect your clinic, it’s a good idea to conduct a self-assessment. This will help identify any areas where your clinic may be falling short of the CQC’s standards. You can use their Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs) as the guide for your self-assessment, which you’ll find here.
These questions cover each of the five key areas from the image above.
2. Develop a quality improvement plan
Once you’ve carried out a self-assessment, you’ll no doubt find areas where you can improve. From these results, you can develop a quality improvement plan to help you get that outstanding CQC rating. This should outline the steps you will take to address any issues and include specific goals with deadlines for improvement.
3. Train your staff
Your staff plays a crucial role in ensuring that your clinic meets the CQC’s standards. They should have a high level of understanding of what these are, along with your clinic’s policies and procedures. This will help ensure that your staff knows what is expected of them. They should also feel that they can come forward with any doubts or complaints, as these will be taken into consideration by the CQC.
4. Maintain accurate records
During an inspection, the CQC will review your clinic’s records to ensure they are accurate and current. It’s important to maintain precise patient care records, including medical records, consent forms, and incident reports. This will help ensure that your clinic is meeting the CQC’s standards for safe and effective care.
5. Seek feedback from patients
Patient feedback is an important tool for improving the quality of care in your clinic. With or without an impending inspection, you should consider it a vital way to improve your clinic and the care you offer. To learn more about this, check out our blog on why patient reviews are vital for your clinic.
You can gather patient feedback through surveys, online reviews, and suggestion boxes.
6. Monitor and evaluate your progress
Once you have started working through these points in line with your quality improvement plan, don’t forget to keep monitoring and evaluating your progress. This will help you identify any areas where you may need to make adjustments to your plan. You can also use the KLOEs as a guide.
7. Be prepared for your inspection
You will be informed of any announced inspections in the weeks leading up to them. This gives you and your clinic time to prepare. Your staff should be aware of the inspections and their roles during them. All your records need to be up to date and make it clear you have a plan in place to address any areas where your clinic might not be meeting CQC’s standards. Be aware that you may be subject to unannounced inspections!
8. Take action after receiving the CQC’s report
After the inspection, the CQC will provide you with a report that outlines their findings. Respond to this report and address any areas the CQC has identified where your clinic is not meeting the standards. This may involve making changes to your policies and procedures, providing additional training to your staff, or investing in new equipment or facilities.
It’s essential to take the feedback seriously and make necessary changes to improve the quality of care in your clinic. This will be reflected in any future reports done by the CQC.
In this image, you can see how the CQC has valued this particular clinic’s commitment to improvement.
Obtaining a good CQC rating for your clinic requires a proactive and ongoing approach to quality improvement. You should keep up with your plan, ensure your patients and staff are happy, and be prepared to make changes to improve the quality of care you offer.
This includes how you keep a record or receive feedback. If you maintain a culture of continuous improvement, CQC will take note, which will pay off in the long term. Not only will you have a great CQC rating you can be proud of, but you can also rest assured that you’re giving your patients the top-quality care they deserve!
For more tips on getting on making your clinic successful, have a look at our resource page.