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CQC solicitors

Stephensons has a team of specialist CQC solicitors (Care Quality Commission solicitors) who provide advice and representation to registered health and adult social care providers and managers in relation to registration, compliance, inspections, enforcement action, criminal investigations and appeals to the first-tier tribunal (Care Standards Chamber).                      

Our specialist CQC lawyers understand the intense pressure on providers and managers to comply with the increasingly complex regulations governing regulated services, and how a negative inspection report or any potential enforcement action can impact significantly on your business and in many cases, unfairly so.

It is important to protect your business and reputation with advice from a specialist CQC defence lawyer before you take any action. Defending you and your business is our primary concern. For a confidential, no obligation discussion regarding your case, please contact our specialist lawyers now on 01616 966 229.

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Why choose the CQC solicitors at Stephensons?

Our firm has developed an excellent reputation in the health and social care sectors and we pride ourselves on achieving the best possible results for our clients. We have successfully defended and represented numerous professionals and businesses across the health and adult social care sectors, helping them to retain their registration, successfully challenge an inspection report, avoid a criminal prosecution and improve the overall ratings of a service. Our clients have included:

  • Residential care homes
  • Nursing homes
  • Domiciliary / homecare agencies
  • Supported living services
  • Learning disability providers
  • GP practices (including online doctor services)
  • Dental practices
  • Hospices
  • Independent hospitals
  • Substance misuse services
  • Patient transport services (ambulances)
  • Diagnostic and screening clinics
  • Aesthetic & slimming clinics
  • Baby scanning clinics
  • Fertility & gynaecology clinics
  • Ear wax removal services
  • Online healthcare services
  • Community healthcare services
  • Health & social care professionals

We also have a network of offices, including London and Manchester, and we act for clients nationwide. We appreciate that the CQC often impose tight deadlines and we regularly prepare cases at very short notice. We also understand the needs and anxieties of our professional clients at risk of losing their registration and in some cases, their business and reputation.

We recognise that enforcement action, and even inspections, can be a stressful and frustrating time and our experience allows us to provide clear and strategic advice at all stages. 

Our experience

Our specialist team of health and social care lawyers have extensive experience of advising registered health and social care professionals and businesses nationwide in relation to the following:

  • Factual accuracy challenges against draft inspection reports
  • Ratings review requests
  • Challenging notices of proposal to cancel, suspend, impose or vary conditions of registration
  • Appeals to the first-tier tribunal (care standards chamber)
  • Criminal investigations and prosecutions
  • CQC registration advice & challenging refusals of registration
  • Challenging warning notices
  • Complaints
  • Inquests
  • Safeguarding investigations
  • Fitness to practice investigations

Use the following link for more information about examples of our previous work: CQC case studies

If you require CQC advice or support in relation to any of the above, you should seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible in order to protect your interests. For a confidential discussion with a member of our team, please contact us on 01616 966 229 or complete our online enquiry form

What our clients say

"All of us would like to say a big thanks for your hard work and dedication. We would never have got over the line without your commitment and support. We're excited to build on our relationship with you and your company. We will stay in touch should we require your expert advice in the future. Once again, thank you for all your efforts in making this happen." - View from a satisfied client

"I was unsure about how to address an allegation from the CQC so sought help from Laura at Stephensons. She organised a conference with a Barrister and herself and quickly drafted a response. The resulting letter was far more than I could have ever drafted myself and clarified the issues to the CQC enabling them to discharge the issues with no further action. I would recommend using Stephensons absolutely! Why try and draft a response yourself when there are people like Laura and Barrister Laura who do this all the time and will do it properly? Thank you so much" - View from a satisfied client

"I really feel that having your help made us feel more in control of the situation and so supported. You have both been so calm and realistic and navigated us through a situation that was beginning to be overwhelming before we had your assistance. I have learnt so much from you both and appreciate how skilful you both are. I would recommend any one in the same situation to contact you with the confidence that you would be supportive, helpful and provide realist advice and information." - View from a satisfied client

"We contacted Stephenson Solicitors when our company received NOP and NOD from the CQC. The team handled our case in a professional and efficient way. Not only was the NOD reversed but our rating was improved." - View from a satisfied client

"Excellent service from Laura and the team reached the outcome we were after through their advice and expertise." - View from a satisfied client

"Laura Hannah provided an excellent, timely and professional service and as a result notice of proposal was withdrawn after a CQC Inspection." - View from a satisfied client

"Last year our care home was placed in 'special measures' following a CQC inspection that found 'inadequacy' in several areas - as a result of a careless manager. The manager was dismissed and a new manager was appointed promptly. On our most recent CQC inspection we were rated safe in all areas. Since being placed in 'special measures', Laura Hannah of Stephensons was appointed to litigate and negotiate on our behalf. We can only highly recommend Laura, who did a fantastic job, whilst being very supportive and the final outcome was a tremendous success. Thanks Laura!" - View from a satisfied client

"Care 4 Quality Ltd have worked with Stephensons regulatory team for the past two years in an independent CQC compliance consultancy role. Their fresh, honest and robust approach has provided the support and results that care providers need when facing regulatory issues with a level of detail that is second to none. I would and do highly recommend them to any service provider who is looking for efficient and understanding legal support. I am proud to work with Laura and the team at Stephensons." - www.care4quality.co.uk

CQC - compliance and regulation FAQs

What are CQC regulations?

CQC regulations are sets of rules that have to be followed by care providers and managers who are carrying out regulated activities. The main regulations that apply to registered care providers and managers are the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 (The 2014 Regulations). The 2014 Regulations set out the fundamental standards, which are the standards below which care must never fall. The CQC regulations aim to assess providers on whether they are: safe, effective, caring; responsive to people’s needs and well-managed. Of course, CQC regulations are in place for a reason but as these rules become increasingly complex, care providers and managers may benefit from the help of a solicitor to ensure that they are protected should their compliance with these rules come into dispute. It’s no secret that a negative inspection report can potentially have significant repercussions for a care provider, so advice from a specialist solicitor can work to protect your reputation should this happen.

Do I need to register with CQC?

Section 10 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 provides that anyone carrying out a regulated activity without being registered with the CQC is guilty of a criminal offence. The regulated activities which require registration with the CQC are outlined within Schedule 1 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 and include:

  • Personal care
  • Accommodation for persons who require nursing or personal care
  • Accommodation for persons who require treatment for substance misuse
  • Treatment of disease, disorder or injury
  • Assessment or medical treatment for persons detained under the 1983 Act
  • Surgical procedures
  • Diagnostic and screening procedures
  • Management of supply of blood and blood derived products etc
  • Transport services, triage and medical advice provided remotely
  • Maternity and midwifery services
  • Services in slimming clinics
  • Nursing care
  • Family planning services

If you are found to be carrying out one of the above regulated activities without registering with the CQC, you may be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court or Crown Court and if found guilty, the court can impose an unlimited fine and/or a sentence of up to 12 months imprisonment.

Do I need to register with CQC for personal care?

‘Personal care’ is described in the CQC’s ‘The scope of registration’ document dated March 2015, as: “…the provision of personal care for people who are unable to provide it for themselves, because of old age, illness or disability, and which is provided to them in the place where those people are living at the time when the care is provided. As an example, this includes personal care provided by a domiciliary care agency.

Personal care will often include intimate care, such as help going to the toilet and assistance with dressing. If you plan to provide domestic services only, such as doing laundry or assisting with shopping, you are unlikely to require registration with the CQC. Broadly speaking, a person will most likely fall within the definition of carrying out ‘personal care’ where care is provided to an elderly, ill or disabled person in their own home; that care is not provided by that person but another person on their behalf (such as an employee); and the payment for that care service is not received directly from the service user, but via another person or the local authority (so that the service user has no direct control over the payment). However, each case should be considered on its own facts and where it is unclear, specialist legal advice should be obtained to ensure that you are operating within the law.

What can I expect from a Care Quality Commission inspection?

A comprehensive CQC inspection is carried out by the CQC to check that you are providing care that is safe, caring, effective, responsive to people's needs and well-led in line with the fundamental standards. A focused inspection is a smaller inspection and does not always look at all of the five key questions. A focused inspection is usually carried out by the CQC to review a particular concern or a change in your circumstances.

During an inspection, the inspectors will meet with the senior staff to outline the scope and purpose of their inspection, as well as to provide feedback on their findings, talk to staff and the people who use the service, review documents and care records and observe the care being provided. If you have received an inspection and you are unhappy with the inspector’s conduct or the inspection report, call Stephensons today to discuss your case.

How can I challenge a CQC inspection report?

Before the CQC’s inspection report is published, you can challenge the factual accuracy and completeness of the evidence in the draft inspection report on which the ratings are based. You have 10 working days from the date you received the draft report to submit your completed factual accuracy check form. It is important to note that any challenge of an inspection report will only stand a chance of being successful if it is backed up with substantial supporting evidence that was available to the inspectors on the day of inspection. You can find out more information about challenging an inspection report by visiting our blog: How can I challenge a CQC inspection report?

Following publication of the inspection report, you have 15 working days to request a ratings review. The only ground for requesting a review is that the inspector did not follow the process for making ratings decisions and aggregating them. A ratings review request is limited to 500 words and must be submitted via the CQC’s online web form.  

What are special measures?

‘Special measures’ is a term used by the CQC where the CQC considers that you are not providing high-quality, safe, effective and compassionate care and you are rated as inadequate. You will be placed in ‘special measures’ where the standard of care you are providing is deemed ‘inadequate’ in order to ensure that significant improvements are made in a timely manner, and you will be inspected again within six months. If sufficient improvements are not made, the CQC will consider taking enforcement action against you, such as the cancellation of your CQC registration. If you have been placed in special measures and require assistance with any enforcement action, get in touch with Stephensons today.

For a confidential, no obligation discussion about your requirements, please contact our specialist CQC lawyers now on 01616 966 229 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you directly.

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