An encounter with the CQC

by Melvyn Jeremiah (Public Governor)—In July the CQC mounted a full-scale inspection of our hospital, only the second they had ever attempted. For four full days some 40 CQC investigators penetrated every part of the organisation.

melvyn-jeremiah.jpgMelvyn Jeremiah, Public Governor—Westminster Area 2

E: Melvyn.Jeremiah@chelwest.nhs.uk

In July the CQC mounted a full-scale inspection of our hospital, only the second they had ever attempted. For four full days some 40 CQC investigators penetrated every part of the organisation.

Despite recent hostile press comments about the capacity of CQC inspectors, we found that they were mostly people with direct experience of working in a hospital.

The elected governors were invited to attend a focus group with three inspectors to discuss what we thought of the hospital and how we carried out our function, and a dozen of us were there. One inspector was a senior nurse from the North of England, the second a pharmacist, and the third a lady on contract to take notes.

We made it clear that we thought the hospital was very good indeed. Of course no hospital is 100% perfect, but we maintained that the culture in the hospital was to always learn from what had gone wrong. The core values that had been devised with the active participation of staff, patients and governors were reasonably well embedded, and the spirit of the hospital depended on everyone subscribing to them, resulting in a high standard of patient care.

The CQC was interested in how we detect issues and make our views known. We explained that we worked very closely with senior management. They noted the governors’ sub-committee structure and were told that governors also participated in many of the other committees and working groups. Examples were given of governor involvement in the Assurance committee, the End of Life Care committee, the Nominations committee and a number of direct patient care issue working groups.

We explained how we had set up the Meet a Governor sessions where patients could inform us of their concerns. In addition we had introduced the highly successful Governors Quality Award scheme, which produced nominations from all parts of the hospital, allowing us to get an excellent understanding of the innovative and high-quality work which was being performed at all levels. Did we think we were carrying out our role successfully? On the whole, yes.

We await the full CQC report of the inspection with interest.

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