Care Quality Commission
Taking action to prevent infections and protect people from closed cultures
This month’s insight report reviews our inspections of infection prevention and control (IPC) in NHS trusts and highlights how we are identifying and responding to the risks of closed cultures. It also includes an article to accompany our publication of data on death notifications involving COVID-19 received from individual care homes.
IPC in NHS trusts
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have recently carried out unannounced focused well-led inspections of acute NHS services, to monitor how they have been implementing infection prevention and control.
We found good IPC practices in most trusts we inspected. Trusts have adapted existing guidance and processes to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of staff and patients. This is despite challenges to good infection prevention, which included the layout of some hospital buildings limiting patient flow, and vacancies in the IPC team reducing staff support.
Identifying and responding to closed cultures
The report also discusses what we have learned so far about how risks can accumulate and build into a closed culture, which is defined as ‘a poor culture that can lead to harm, including human rights breaches, such as abuse’.
To improve our understanding of, and how we identify, the risks associated with closed cultures, we are proactively reviewing information we hold on services we think could be at risk of developing a closed culture. This includes reviewing whistleblowing concerns and feedback about the quality of care from people using services and their carers and staff.
We have taken action to tackle closed cultures by initiating focused inspections, issuing urgent notices to restrict admissions, placing services into special measures and, where necessary, ensuring people are relocated to other care services.
Location level deaths data
We have also published data showing death notifications involving COVID-19 received from individual care homes between 10 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. Read our press release on the publication of care home death notification data.
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