COVID-19 Emergency Support Framework | Assessing the impact of the coronavirus on health care services

As lockdown begins to ease, here at Northern Healthcare we are reflecting on the lessons learnt during the coronavirus outbreak. We made changes to the ways in which we support our residents and work together, as did our colleagues within the NHS adult social care sector, and of course our regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

In this blog we look at how the CQC are investigating the impact of the coronavirus on health care services, and how the regulator have adapted their practices to support social care in England following the suspension of routine inspections.

CQC | The Emergency Support Framework

At the beginning of May 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic the CQC announced the formation of “The Emergency Support Framework”. The framework enables inspectors to facilitate structured conversations around four areas to gain assurances that regulated providers operating within the current pandemic are continuing to deliver safe services:

  • Safe care and treatment | Infection control and risk management, PPE, safety procedures
  • Staffing arrangements | Safe staffing
  • Protection from abuse | Human rights & safeguarding
  • Assurance processes, monitoring, and risk management | Assessing the systems implemented to monitoring and protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of staff

In relation to the above areas, Northern Healthcare’s summary document concludes: “From our discussion and other information about this location, we assess that you are managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic… You have drawn up a contingency plan covering staff shortage which is financially sustainable. You have provided staff additional training in relation to Covid-19. Recruitment has been ongoing and you have adapted your induction and training processes in line with social distancing measures.

“You provide your staff with emotional support as required via 1:1s and provide information on counselling services where needed.”

View the full report here.

Why is this data collected?

The CQC website states: “The information that we gather through this route is a further source of intelligence that we are using to monitor risk, identify where providers may need extra support to respond to emerging issues, and ensure they are delivering safe care which protects people’s human rights.

It aids our understanding of the impact of coronavirus on staff and people using services, and where we may need to follow up directly with an inspection, or escalate concerns to regional, and national system partners where they are best placed to address.”

Kate Terroni, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said: “Now more than ever, safety remains a priority for the whole health and care system.

“The emergency support framework is a tool that helps structure those provider conversations so we can get a clear and complete picture of how coronavirus is affecting services.

“The information we collect from all sources is being used collectively to monitor and respond to risk, ensure providers are able to keep people safe and drive action at national, regional and local level across the wider health and social care system where we see emerging issues that need further action.”

Following the positive commentary recorded in Norther Healthcare’s ‘Summary Record’, Ashley Mancey-Johnson, Northern Healthcare Business Development Director comments: “The current pandemic has been, and continues to be, a significant challenge for the health and social care sector. We are no exception to the challenges COVID-19 has brought; it is thanks to the commitment and hard work of our team that we continue to provide excellent services to our residents. Receiving this acknowledgement from our regulator is a great achievement and we thank our team members for their continued support and dedication throughout this period.”

Further reading

View Northern Healthcare’s ‘Engagement and support call | Summary record’ here.

You can view our response to the pandemic published in the British Journal of Mental Health Nursing here.



Photo by Bernd Klutsch on Unsplash


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