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Across our homes, achieving and maintaining quality care is a primary concern. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is at the forefront of ensuring that services across England meet the necessary standards of quality and safety.

The introduction of the CQC‘s single assessment framework marks a significant shift in the regulatory environment, aimed at streamlining and enhancing the effectiveness of care assessments. As we navigate these changes, Berkley Care Group stands out for its proactive approach. Most recently, we held a comprehensive CQC training day, organised by our dedicated Clinical Risk and Quality Director, Louise Atherton. This was designed to ensure that all our homes are well-prepared to achieve ‘outstanding’ scores by providing the best in quality care.

 

Why the new framework?

The transition towards a single assessment framework came after the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that the previous framework was overly complicated. CQC decided that a unified approach was necessary to evaluate the range of services under their purview, including hospitals, adult social care, and primary medical services.

The consolidation into a single framework is intended to simplify the assessment process, providing a clear, cohesive understanding of what constitutes ‘quality’ care and ‘good’ service.

 

Main differences under the new framework

Previously segmented into three distinct frameworks, the CQC‘s assessment criteria has been reformulated under a unified model. This updated approach primarily assesses five key aspects of care: safety, effectiveness, caring, responsiveness, and leadership. This is underpinned by quality statements and evidence, shifting away from the former key lines of enquiry (KLOEs), prompts, and ratings.

A notable change is the move towards a rolling assessment of quality and risk, rather than solely relying on inspections. This broader assessment methodology includes direct monitoring, feedback from various stakeholders, and evidence submitted by providers themselves, offering a holistic, ongoing evaluation of service quality.

The scoring system and ratings

While the four-point rating scale remains unchanged, the new scoring system introduces a more nuanced method of assessment. Quality statements will be evaluated continuously, with evidence scores providing a transparent and consistent view of quality across different services. This approach not only aids in understanding current service quality but also in identifying trends and areas for improvement.

 

What remains the same

Amidst these changes, it’s crucial to recognise what stays the same. The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 and the Fundamental Standards still constitute the foundation of the CQC‘s regulatory framework. The five key questions and the four-point rating scale also remain, ensuring continuity and a stable foundation for assessing care quality.

 

What does this mean for Berkley?

Understanding and adapting to these changes is vital for care providers. Berkley Care Group exemplifies this preparedness through our CQC training day. The agenda for this training was designed to cover all aspects of the new framework, from understanding quality statements in practice to mastering the new scoring system and ratings. This demonstrates Berkley’s commitment to excellence and continuous improvement.

As we embrace the changes in CQC‘s Single Assessment Framework, Berkley Care Group is laser-focused on maintaining quality care by ensuring that all our homes are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills. The ultimate beneficiaries of this framework will be those who matter most – our residents, whose safety and comfort is our number one priority.