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Collaboration in the new CQC Assessment Era

With support from Annie Baxter

The world of CQC and how healthcare is regulated has seen some big changes recently, especially since the full roll out of the Single Assessment Framework (SAF) earlier this year. Couple this with the complex challenges in our industry and an uncertain political climate – we understand it can be a daunting place to be.

There is a true commitment to quality-centred care that focuses on the experiences and outcomes of service users at the heart of the SAF. But what do these changes mean for you and your team? And how can organisations and individuals navigate this new world with confidence?

Ultimately, the SAF is a tool to help you and your team to ask yourselves the right questions and to take ownership of delivering true quality.

Below, we have listed some key drivers for SAF and what it helps to enable.

Quality Statements

The new approach means providers must demonstrate their commitment to high-quality care through a more consistent assessment process. The introduction of the quality statements – still sitting under the five key questions safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led – represent a stronger focus on what good care means in real terms, especially from the perspective of service users. And to truly embed a quality-focused approach within your organisation, staff must not only understand why quality is important, but perhaps even more importantly, what it looks like. And the quality statements are great tools against which to pin this recognition and quality assurance. They empower all staff across all levels to identify areas of improvement more effectively, whilst simultaneously putting the perspective of service users front and centre. Ultimately, this helps you and your colleagues to better understand benchmarks and expectations by putting the people that receive your care at the forefront of assessments.

But what does this mean in concrete terms? To name an example, under caring, a statement like “Staff treat people with compassion, kindness, dignity, and respect.” puts emphasis on the interpersonal aspects of care delivery. Here, staff should ask themselves: How am I interacting with service users, and am I doing it in a way that leads with empathy and respect?

As you can see, these changes in how the CQC assess and encourage self-assessment to a certain degree are pivotal in the drive for high-quality care putting people at its core.

Collaboration and Teamwork

The emphasis on collaboration and partnership working really is one of the SAF’s benefits and essential in bringing the quality statements to life. As discussed above, to foster collective understanding of what quality looks like, it is essential that not only managers, but also frontline staff have good sight of the Quality Statements.

But collaboration means more than just teamwork within your own organisation (though of course this remains important). It’s about connecting with your community, listening to your patients, service users and their families/carers and working collectively with a broad range of individuals who have a stake in your success. By engaging with individuals at all levels, you get great insight into the quality of your care and your gaps through multiple lenses.

Good Structure

The foundation to success when navigating and improving against the SAF is a well-structured programme of work. Without this, even the most well-intentioned efforts can stall or fail. Working with our clients, we have seen the importance of well-laid foundations for SAF implementation – it’s why we put real emphasis on it.

Getting the basics right, from establishing clear communication channels to defining roles and responsibilities, it is invaluable to build a robust mechanism that supports your goals around quality improvement. Ultimately, it ensures that everyone understands what is important and why and their role within this.

Get in touch!

Our team have longstanding experience of navigating the world of CQC. We have been working with a number of our clients recently to help them get to grips with these changes.

If you think Baxendale could help you embed and engrain quality throughout your organisation, get in touch using the form below.