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Behind the headlines... accessing records on inspections

10 October 2014
  • Public

CQC's work helps to keep people safe and helps care improve. As part of that, we need to look at records for a number of reasons. For example, we check that the provider is complying with the regulations regarding record keeping, care planning, consent, cooperating with other providers, and management of medicines. We also have to report on how providers handle patient information.

Media stories this week about Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors looking at care records as part of inspections have sensationalised and misrepresented an important part of the inspection process. The Daily Mail was entirely wrong to describe this aspect of our work, which help us protect patients from poor care, as 'snooping'.

Parliament asked the CQC to do this important work. Inspectors handle many types of sensitive personal information every day and abide by a code of practice, just like GPs. To assess record keeping and care planning, it is appropriate that this happens.

All CQC staff receive training on the code of practice when they join the organisation. The role-specific Inspector training contains additional confidentiality training, which includes specific training on accessing medical records. As well as detailed guidance to support the code and assist our inspectors in translating it into everyday use, we also have a one-page 'key-issues on confidentiality' document that is provided to all members of our inspection team. It is common practice for this document to be the focus of pre-inspection discussion to ensure that everyone is familiar with it.

Inspectors already check medical records in hospitals and care plans in care homes. This work helps us to assess the quality of care. Above all else, we are always on the side of people who use services and we believe this element of our inspection process reflects that and is in their best interests.

Last updated:
29 May 2017