Monthly column for providers and professionals working in adult social care from Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care.

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Welcome back to my blog and Happy New Year! I hope that you had a restful festive period whatever you were doing and are back ready for all that 2020 has to offer.

I have recently been familiarising myself with the NICE initiative ‘Involved and informed’, which was launched in July 2019 and encourages better medicines support for people receiving medicines in community settings. As the regulator we are in a unique position to be able to drive improvement in this area by highlighting the importance of the guideline NG67 and the associated quality standard. There are also plenty of tools and resources to assist providers, as well as our report on Medicines in Health and Social Care.

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to shadow our Medicines Optimisation Team on an inspection at a residential home for older people as I was keen to learn how we are assured on an inspection that people using services are ‘Involved and Informed’ in decision making about their medication, that they receive medication in the right way at the right time and that providers are identifying medicines errors and demonstrating learning from this.

I spent a very chilly hour with the Medicines Optimisation inspector in a medication room reviewing medicines stocks, people’s care plans and their approach to PRN medicines — which is medicines prescribed as required. I saw good practice such as double signatures against any changes to the medicine’s records, and accurate and regular recording of the stock of medicines. Managing medication well and learning from errors is so important. There are 237 million medication errors reported every year in the NHS, yet approximately 50% of our Provider Information Returns report nil medication errors. I’ll be shining a spotlight on medicines in adult social care in my communications to you, so keep an eye out for more on this in the coming months.

This month we also launched our first ever podcast CQC Connect. The first two episodes of the series are out now and focus on our new ‘Give Feedback on Care’ service and how we use information the public shares, as well as a discussion on the State of Care 2018/19. We were joined by some brilliant speakers for this series and there are lots of interesting topics coming up, including Outstanding GPs and innovation in health and social care. I encourage you all to have a listen and subscribe for future episodes here or you can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and wherever else you find your podcasts!

As you will hear if you listen to the first episode of CQC Connect our new service ‘Give feedback on care’ captures feedback on the quality of care from anyone who uses health and social care services and has replaced ‘Share your experience’. This has been designed around the needs of the public, so we hope that this new accessible service should allow us to use the feedback we receive in the best possible way.

This month we have also celebrated Young Carer’s Day (on the 30th of January) which is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate carers of all ages. Get involved and find more information here.

I hope that you will check in next month when I’ll be updating you on what has been taking place at CQC as we forge our way through the winter months.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

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