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What Do You Do When Your Services Are Disrupted? How do I tell the CQC?

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No matter what contingency plans you have in place to ensure continuity of service, Murphy’s Law says that if something can go wrong it will. Circumstances over which you have no control do (at the most inopportune time) conspire against you to force the disruption of your services. Such circumstances may range from the effects of storms, snow, high winds, and torrential rain (well, we do live in the UK!); to an epidemic among staff; to road closures; and so on and so forth.

Whatever the reason for the disruption of services, the GP practice is required to do three things:

  - Notify the CQC to inform them of the disruption to services

  - Return the practice returns to providing services as soon as possible

  - Ensure the practice returns to providing services that are safe and in a safe manner

Regulation 18 of the Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009 states that the healthcare provider must notify the CQC of a disruption to its services.

How do you notify the CQC of a disruption to services?

Notification should be made as soon as practicable by the registered person, and if possible it should be made through the practice’s CQC online account. If the registered person doesn’t have an online CQC account, then notification may be made using paper copies. If neither method is possible, then the registered person can contact the CQC and request that the inspector completes the form on the practice’s behalf.

Who can make notification?

Typically it will be the registered manager of the practice that makes the notification, though this responsibility can be delegated to another appropriate member of staff. Whoever makes the notification, the CQC will need to be told the name of the person submitting the notification and who to contact if more information is required.

What details will the CQC want to know?

The CQC must be told what has caused the disruption to services. This may include:

  - Infrastructure problems

  - Equipment issues

  - Premises problems

  - Any other relevant factors that are preventing the practice from carrying out its regulated activities to the standards of quality and safety

Is it possible to continue providing services by sharing premises with another practice?

Under normal circumstances, providing a regulated activity in a location that you are not registered for will cause a breach of regulation conditions. This said, a practice that wishes to use another location for continuity of service provision should first contact the CQC to discuss whether it would be eligible to do so. Each case is treated individually and the CQC will take into account all circumstances when considering the possibility of providing continued services in another location.

If your services are disrupted for any reason, always make sure that the CQC is informed without delay and ensure that your registration conditions are not breached.

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