The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates England's health and social care services. The commission ensures the quality and safety of care in hospitals, dentists, ambulances, and care homes. It defines quality expectations and conducts audits of registered organisations. But what does it mean for Facilities Management teams?

What are the 5 questions the CQC uses to assess an organisation?

In all its work, the CQC uses five questions to assess and rate an organisation’s services:

  1. Are they safe?
  2. Are they effective?
  3. Are they caring? 
  4. Are they responsive to people’s needs?
  5. Are they well-led?

Feeling the strain? Download our three-step guide to selecting a CAFM system

How does CQC compliance relate to facilities management, then?

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014: Regulation 15 says:

This regulation intends to make sure that the premises where care and treatment are delivered are clean, suitable for the intended purpose, maintained and where required, appropriately located, and that the equipment that is used to deliver care and treatment is clean, suitable for the intended purpose, maintained, stored securely and used properly.” CQC Regulation 15

The care provider’s responsibility is to ensure their team can deliver on these regulatory requirements through their FM process. CQC expects leadership to provide their teams with tools and processes that ensure:

  • Premises and equipment are maintained to be safe and effective
  • Teams can respond when premises and equipment are unsafe, unhygienic or defective
  • They are trained effectively and have the right qualifications to work with you
  • Teams have an audit trail in place to demonstrate processes are in place and working

At the same time, they expect the care provider to ensure these standards are being met and maintained by their contractors and third parties.

Providers retain legal responsibility under these regulations when they delegate responsibility through contracts or legal agreements to a third party, independent suppliers, professionals, supply chains or contractors.They must therefore make sure that they meet the regulation, as responsibility for any shortfall rests with the provider.” CQC Regulation 15

3 ways a CAFM help you deliver on CQC requirements?

1. Help desks support effective reactive maintenance

Hospitals and care centres need to be highly responsive to meet their duty of care responsibilities.

If you've got a leak into your operating theatre, you can't just work around it. It’s fundamentally an infection risk, so the whole operation shuts down until it’s fixed. You can't wait for someone to come back from a day's holiday to sort it out - you need to deal with it then and there” James Clarke, Head of Property, SpaMedica

With a CAFM, you can configure help desks to ensure defective, unclean or unsafe equipment and premises are reported, resolved and followed up. 

Work order management software should ensure :

  • Internal customers can raise work requests
  • Work requests can be processed instantly for priority/category
  • Work requests can be triaged centrally (prioritising responses and scheduling work)
  • Contractors/engineers are automatically sent work orders by email
  • Contractor/engineers can report on progress via a mobile portal
  • Audit trails will be created for compliance reporting
  • Reminders for follow up/ensure issue is resolved

2. Workflows and PPM ensure equipment and premises are compliant

In healthcare FM, it is vital that best practice processes are defined and observed to ensure standards and quality is maintained.  

When you have complex and life-saving equipment to maintain, you need processes that are clearly defined, always followed and leave an audit trail.” Gary Raffray, IT and Facilities Manager at The Hamptons Hospital

A CAFM should give you the tools to set up workflows that can be followed in a set way time and time again.  If there are servicing requirements and deadlines that must be met for compliance, your system should have reminders and notifications sent to the right people to ensure vital tasks are completed.

The CAFM should record an audit trail in real-time, showing when equipment has been serviced and by whom.  Contractors and engineers should be able to use their mobiles to update the service records of the equipment they’ve looked at in real-time.  

The CAFM dashboard should show all required compliance checks across the year in grid format showing, at a glance, which are pending, completed and overdue.

As our new hospital opens this summer we will use the CAFM platform to implement Planned Preventive Maintenance and maintain specialist equipment. Using the CAFM we will share work orders with contractors, set up notifications, co-ordinating maintenance and compliance activity in real-time.” Gary Raffray, IT and Facilities Manager a The Hamptons Hospital

3. A CAFM helps make your documentation bulletproof

A CAFM should bring a structured, controlled document management system - that will prove your business is organised to deliver care to the expected CQC standards. It should demonstrate you have a system where:

  • Warranties, instruction manuals, agreements, leases, RAMS, and other vital documents are kept accessible to those who need to use them
  • Required processes and procedures are specified so workers understand and adopt best practices
  • Audit trails of breakdown reports, repairs and regular maintenance are accessible to regulators
  • You can prove staff have the right clearances to work with you
  • You can prove staff are trained and competent to do their jobs effectively

The CAFM should keep your documentation secure, ensuring it can’t be deleted or changed without authority.  It should be highly searchable and responsive so you can satisfy regulator’s questions quickly and efficiently whenever they arise.

CQC compliance is a leadership challenge

The CQC guidelines are clear; leaders in care organisations are responsible for maintaining the systems that ensure equipment and premises are fit for purpose and that their suppliers follow those processes, too.  

But when it comes to building facility management software solutions for care organisations, one size definitely does not fit all.  

CQC software - why one size does not fit all

Off the shelf software can require you to work in particular ways that might not work for you. It may even be difficult to persuade your engineers and contractors to adopt new digital solutions unless their specific needs are met.

Instead, you should look for a CAFM partner who can help you configure and optimise a system that supports the unique way you operate. Make sure your provider will listen to your needs and work with you to keep the kind of specialist maintenance in a caregiving environment that you need to deliver. This may require creating bespoke workflows, interfaces, reporting dashboards and mobile portals to support different workers in with their unique challenges. 

If you can achieve this, you will help care, quality and compliance move beyond simply a box-ticking activity and become ‘the way you do things’ as an organisation.

How to choose a CAFM system

Tom Wilcock

Written by Tom Wilcock

Tom Wilcock is the COO and Co-Founder of Expansive Solutions. He is a digital expert with a background in delivering large-scale business digital transformation. He specialises in project management, product user experience, business ecosystems and data intelligence.

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