The Care and Quality Commission (CQC) was formed in 2009 under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, bringing together the previous functions of the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, and the Mental Health Act Commission. The role of the CQC is to act as an independent regulator of health and adult social care services in England. It regulates the quality of services across the public and independent sectors. The CQC considers five key questions when inspecting a healthcare service: whether an organisation is safe, effective in achieving good outcomes, caring, responsive to people’s needs, and well-led in promoting a positive and innovative culture.
The CQC involve different advisors in their inspections to have the most accurate overview of the standards and quality of a service. This may include specialist advisors and experts by experience.
Specialist advisors for CQC
Specialist advisors employed by the CQC typically have experience in the field being inspected. Advisors must be totally independent of the services being inspected and can only be involved with CQC inspections of providers to which they have no prior connection. This includes any professional connection but also if, for example, a family member works for the service or if they have previously been a patient of the service.
Experts by Experience
Experts by Experience are people who have personal experience (within the last eight years) of using or caring for someone who uses health, mental health and/or social care services that CQC regulate. This can include:
- Someone with experience of detention under the Mental Health Act
- An individual with a learning disability, autism or an acquired brain injury
- The family member or carer of an adult relative who has a learning disability and high support/complex needs
- The family member or carer of a child or older person who uses health services
Experts by experience speak to individuals using services and their support network which may include carers, family, or organisations to establish the perspective of the service users. They may also directly observe how the service is delivered. Their findings support the inspectors’ assessment of the service and are often included in the final inspection report. Experts by experience are also commonly involved with consultations, CQC staff training and developing CQC practice. The CQC work closely with the social care charity ‘Choice Support’, which recruits and trains experts by experience to work with the CQC.
Care consultants assist and advise health and social care providers when working with their commissioning and regulatory bodies. This commonly includes assessing the standards and CQC compliance of a provider. As part of this, care consultants may organise mock CQC inspections to help services prepare for an upcoming inspection by the regulator. They may also work alongside providers who have previously received a ‘requires improvement’ rating by the CQC, and services at risk of having their registration cancelled. Care consultants have typically worked in similar areas to the service they are supporting, are often registered managers, and may previously have been CQC inspectors.
Why might you need to instruct a care consultant expert witness?
Care consultants and specialist advisors have a high level of experience in the standards required by providers to meet the needs of the specific regulatory body. This means that they have the knowledge and experience necessary to give expert evidence on whether a trust or service has met the key requirements for safety and care. Care consultants may be instructed in cases of alleged negligence and personal injury. Some care consultants may have specific experience relevant to a certain field, for example, maternity services or mental health providers. Expert evidence plays a central role in informing the court regarding the relevant standard of care in medical litigation and in helping the court calculate compensation. Expert evidence from a care consultant may be helpful in order to establish whether an organisation has been engaged in unsafe practice. Experts in care consultancy have a high level of experience in the standards required by providers to meet the needs of the specific regulatory body. This means that they have the knowledge and experience necessary to be able to give expert evidence on whether a service has met the necessary requirements for safety and care.
What care consultant experts do Expert Court Reports have?
We have a highly experienced and well-respected care consultant expert witness on our panel, John Ahern. Mr Ahern is an experienced Quality and Compliance Consultant, registered social worker and former registered manager and nominated individual for various care services providing regulated activities.
Mr Ahern has provided regular support to providers to evidence ongoing improvements prior to any further visits from the regulator in the context of proposals to cancel the registration. He has an extensive portfolio of ‘mock’ inspections conducted on behalf of providers, generally measured by the regulator (CQC) in England. He also has a growing portfolio of mock inspections conducted on behalf of Welsh care providers against standards as generally measured by the regulator (CIW) in Wales.
Why use Expert Court Reports?
A good care consultant expert witness should come with years of experience as well as specific competencies to act as an expert witness. Our care consultant expert, Mr Ahern, has many years of established experience in the field as a quality and compliance consultant.
How quickly can you provide a report?
At Expert Court Reports Ltd, we understand the pressures of the legal profession. We recognise that litigation is subject to defined timescales and for this reason, we will be as flexible and accommodating as we are able to be. However, we pride ourselves on not promising work that cannot be reliably delivered within a given timescale. The quality of the evidence which is provided by our experts is subject to review and scrutiny. All expert reports are subject to a detailed and robust proofreading process to ensure our expert evidence is accurate and expertly formatted.