Experts by Experience — helping us hear about people’s experiences of care through the pandemic.

Despite the pandemic, Experts by Experience (ExEs) are continuing to support CQC’s regulatory activity, helping us hear about people’s experiences of care.

CLARE KNIGHTON has worked as an ExE for mental health services since 2016.

“I became an Expert by Experience after I showed CQC inspectors around a ward I was detained on. I remember thinking that I wanted to get involved to help make services good and safe places for people like me.”

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Claire, Expert by Experience in Mental Health.

Like other ExEs, Clare has been carrying out telephone interviews to support inspections. Clare has found that people were generous with their time, it was easy to talk, and she feels she has collected rich information to share with the inspector - “Doing it over the phone didn’t feel like a barrier at all.”

Clare felt well-prepared going into the inspection. “The inspector provided me with all the information I needed. I also felt able to directly call the inspector the same day if I encountered unsafe practice — fortunately this was not the case.”

Clare thinks that if telephone interviews do become a regular part of the inspection process, even when coronavirus restrictions are reduced, they should be ‘in addition to’ rather than ‘instead of’ on-site visits. But Clare agrees there is a continuing place for telephone interviews.

“I think phone feedback allows more people to be included — not everyone can easily get to an establishment to see inspection teams — carers are busy and phone calls make contact easier, so I really hope phone calls will remain part of CQC inspections.”

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