Inspectors value honesty

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Honesty pays when faced with a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection, according to a con­sultant who also works as an inspector.

Dr Linda Patterson, consultant physician at The Royal Ortho­paedic Hospital NHS Trust, advised hospital managers and doctors at the meeting that it came across much better to tell the truth.

She told them they should say up front when they knew there were areas of concern with particular issues – and then point out that they had already devised an action plan.

‘If you say you are all-singing, dancing and wonderful, it’s not a very sensible strategy.’

Dr Patterson said the inspection team gather on-site evidence by observing care, what people, carers and staff told them, studying the care environment and facilities, and reviewing documents and records. She advised that if a hospital or clinic had a ‘vision’, then it needed to make doubly sure that all their staff knew what this was.

Simple things could give a good or poor impression. There were some easy actions that could be taken ahead of a visit – for instance, ensuring there were no empty hand gel containers, de-cluttering and seeing that noticeboards were updated.