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CQC publishes Infection Prevention and Control inspections report

18 November 2020
  • Public

In response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic we have introduced our Infection Prevention and Control inspections in order to share good practice, uphold high quality care and keep people in care safe.

Today we are sharing our findings from these inspections in our report ‘How care homes managed infection prevention and control during the coronavirus pandemic 2020’ which includes what we have seen and what care home providers have told us has worked, and what has caused them challenge through the pandemic.

Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care said: "We’re committed to ensuring safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care and are working with the Department of Health and Social Care and others to support the care system through winter.

"As this report shows most care providers that we have inspected have shown they are responding to the challenges of infection prevention control well, under these extraordinary circumstances. We have seen some providers using innovative and exciting practices to keep people safe. They have been supported by staff who have gone the extra mile to keep the people in their care healthy, stimulated, and as independent as possible, while keeping family members and carers informed and engaged.

"By continuing to monitor and inspect these care locations we have and will continue to take action to protect people, share best practice and support providers to protect against the spread of COVID in care homes."

Effective infection prevention and control (IPC) is essential to protect people from acquiring COVID-19. Providers need to make sure they are taking action to minimise the risk of cross-infection.

Most care providers that we have inspected have demonstrated that they have faced these challenges well.

During August 2020, we carried out a special programme of IPC inspections in 301 care homes selected as potential examples of where IPC was being done well. We have also reviewed IPC in 139 ‘risked-based’ inspections between 1 August and 4 September, which were carried out in response to concerns about safety and quality. During these inspections, we reviewed how well staff and people living in care homes were protected by IPC measures, looking at assurance overall and across ‘eight ticks’ and you can see our findings here:

Figure 1: Assurance against IPC themes for care homes inspected between 1 August and 4 September 2020 (440 care homes in sample)

Note: 'Good practice' care homes were those selected for potential good practice; 'Risk-based' care homes were inspected due to concerns over quality and safety.

We have committed to completing a further 500 stand-alone IPC care home inspections by the end of November. These will include services where we expect to see good IPC practice, so we can continue to learn and share what works well as the situation develops, but we will also take action in services that are not adapting well to the pandemic.

This report comes alongside our monthly Insight report, which includes data on deaths in care homes in relation to ratings. We have not seen any clear relationship between care home ratings and the number of deaths due to COVID-19.

Deaths of people in care homes, by ratings

Bar chart showing little difference between the percentage of care homes receiving each rating and the proportion of deaths at those services
Source: CQC ratings, November 2020; notifications of deaths under Statutory Notification 16 to CQC, 10 April to 6 November 2020, where confirmed or suspected COVID-19 was flagged.

The second analysis shows the rate of deaths per 1,000 beds by care home rating, which updates figures previously included in our State of Health and Adult Social Care in England, 2019/20 report (page 47).

Both charts reflect a slight skew towards requires improvement, but there is no clear correlation between the number of deaths and overall rating.

Bar chart showing the rate of deaths per 1,000 care home beds for each rating - showing no strong correlation
Source: CQC ratings, November 2020; notifications of deaths under Statutory Notification 16 to CQC, 10 April to 6 November 2020, where confirmed or suspected COVID-19 was flagged; CQC register at 1 April 2020.
Last updated:
18 November 2020