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Local law firm again succeeds against care regulator

Lancashire-based law firm QualitySolicitors AcklamBond has yet again helped overturn a wrongful review the Care Quality Commission (CQC) made against their client, a large adult social care provider.

Following an inspection by the CQC in February 2018, the CQC sent a draft report to QualitySolicitors AcklamBond’s client that rated their service as ‘requires improvement’, a downgraded rating from the previous ‘good’.

The CQC assess services across five key lines of enquiry, which are: safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs, and well-led.

Out of the five key lines of enquiry, three were rated as 'good' and two as ‘requires improvement’. More concerning for the client was that the CQC were alleging a breach of a regulation contained in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (regulated activities) regulations 2014.

The specialist healthcare team at QualitySolicitors AcklamBond challenged the assessment on behalf of the client. Through their perseverance and the factual inaccuracies evidence, the CQC’s Head of Inspections agreed that the report need to be amended, to increase their ratings back to ‘good’.

This amendment is a huge win for the client as it is essential for adult social care providers to uphold an excellent reputation. If their reputation is wrongly tarnished it can lead to loss of contracts and referrals, which affects the business and those they provide for.

This is not the first time that QualitySolicitors AcklamBond has took on the CQC. Back in 2016, they worked on a case for SSP Health, who had challenged a CQC decision that one of their practices should be placed into special measures. After this challenge was refused SSP Health underwent judicial review legal proceedings using QualitySolicitors AcklamBond’s expertise.

The firm were able to prove in front of the High Court that the CQC hadn’t taken the correct inspection measures to be able to make such a decision. The High Court ruled that the CQC needed to adapt their procedures and introduce a second independent review if one of their decisions is challenged – something that has been implemented across the UK.

The healthcare department at QualitySolicitors AcklamBond have said the CQC needs to allow care providers an adequate means of responding to the report and to have their concerns addressed. The team issued this short statement:

“The CQC need to engage further with providers to explore issues that arise as part of an inspection. The CQC have a duty to act in a fair, reasonable and transparent manner.

“It is of paramount importance that service providers have the opportunity to properly challenge what they believe is inaccurate or misleading information in an inspection report, and they shouldn’t be afraid to do so.”

If you or your business is facing action by the Care Quality Commission, contact our specialist defence lawyers to find out what options are available to you. Call 01254 867 595.

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