The message below was shared with HCPA by the Care Quality Commission. Please circulate this message within your organisations.

Dear colleague,
We are writing to share an update on how we are responding to the outbreak of Covid19, as well as how we plan to approach any future decisions as the situation develops.
We will always act in the best interests of people who use services – so while it’s appropriate to recognise the need for you to focus on delivering care, we will always balance this with our responsibility to check that the safety of service users is maintained.
This is a fast-moving situation which may involve us changing what we do and how we do it. We have, therefore, established three key principles that we will use to make sure services continue to be safe, whilst limiting the impact on you and our own colleagues.
  • We will be focusing our activity where it is needed most to ensure people receive safe care – this means concentrating on those areas where we see that the risk to the quality of care is the highest and where we can make the biggest difference
  • We will support providers by looking at how we can act flexibly and proportionately to reduce the asks that we make of you – including reducing what you need to do to prepare for inspection and looking at what we can do to limit our need to be on site
  • We will honour our duty of care to our colleagues at CQC
We will still be carrying out inspections, but inspection managers will be reviewing inspection plans on an ongoing basis to make sure our activity is aligned with the very latest position. Most inspections will continue as planned in the short term, we will keep the position under review and may decide to postpone an inspection, perhaps with relatively short notice. We will take a pragmatic and flexible approach to how and when we regulate as and when this situation develops and we commit to continuing conversations with providers and their representative organisations.
We will continue to share updates with you through our regular communication channels, such as the provider bulletins, our Twitter feed and our website. The latest general official information coming from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England can be found here.
The government is currently coordinating the national response the outbreak of COVID-19 and has published its coronavirus action plan.
Public Health England (PHE) has published a range of COVID-19 guidance for health professionals – including guidance on the assessment and management of suspected UK cases, and specific guidance for social or community care and residential settings. The NHS has also updated its coronavirus webpages, bringing their guidance for social care staff and healthcare professionals into one place.
We continue to monitor the situation and will keep you up to date with any further developments.
Yours sincerely,

Ian Trenholm,
Chief Executive
Care Quality Commission