The Care Quality Commission has called on district nurses and other community staff to alert it if they have concerns about “secluded” parts of health and social care system.
Ann Farenden, nurse and national professional advisor with the CQC, said last week that working in the community could be “extremely difficult” for the regulator.
Speaking at a Unison nursing conference in Birmingham, Ms Farenden asked community nurses to “feedback about care” in “secluded areas away from a lot of other practitioners”, such as care homes and patient’s own homes.
“It’s extremely difficult for us to regulate and inspect services in the community that take place in patients’ own homes, for example,” she said.
“We do want to particularly ask district nurses – and other people working in the community who have experience of care homes or where they go into people’s homes – if they have concerns about care in those areas,” she added. “It would be very helpful to us.”
Ms Farenden also called on nurses in general to raise concerns with the CQC and that she was particularly concerned by comments made by delegates at the conference “around staffing levels and the quality of care”.
“It’s also one of our big concerns as well and the impact of increased workload that has on staff and the ability for them to carry out care safely,” she said.
Ms Farenden acknowledged that the CQC’s system of unannounced inspections needed support from frontline staff in highlighting concerns about organisations.
“We can’t get round to all of those organisations that we regulate every week, every day….so we do rely on what people who use services, the public and staff actually tell us,” she told delegates.
“We can’t always protect and promote people without that sort of involvement. People’s views actually help us prioritise and target where we are going to look.”
She noted that the regulator’s whistleblowing hotline – set up in the wake of the Winterbourne View case – had received 3,000 calls since April.