Would the CQC consider your Risk Assessments Suitable and Sufficient?


Regulators such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have been saying for some time that they are concerned about the quality and content of Risk Assessments that some businesses and organisations are relying on. This is becoming a common theme in calls we receive on a daily basis from Practice Managers who manage Primary Care Practices.

Whether you are a Practice Manager, a Managing Partner, or a Business or Patient Services Manager and you are responsible for a Doctors Practice, Doctors Surgery, Medical Practice a Medical Centre or even a Primary Care Network (PCN) or other partnership the same basic requirements for health and safety and risk assessments apply and its likely to be your responsibility to ensure its all in order.

Recent conversations with Practice Managers at a number of different Primary Care GP Practices have revealed a common theme. How come when we were last inspected by the CQC we were rated “good”, but now we are rated “inadequate” and they have cited our health and safety and risk assessments as deficient, when they were ok before.

Many previous inspections have just relied on the inspector asking have you done a Risk Assessment? Once a piece of paper with Risk Assessment on the title and some content was put before the inspector, they often marked practices as compliant in that respect.

However, inspections have changed and Health and Safety and how it is led and managed, and the quality and content of Risk Assessments are areas that inspectors are undertaking “Deep Dives” on.

So now they will expect to see comprehensive task based Risk Assessments that are “suitable and sufficient” and that have been produced by those with the appropriate skills, knowledge and training to do it (a “competent person”).

Practices also struggle as they have previously undertaken Risk Assessment on physical rooms in the practice such as “Consulting Room” or “Treatment Room” whereas Risk Assessments are about the tasks we undertake and the hazards we face as a result of work activities. So for Doctors Practices Risk Assessments should be focused on topics such as

  • Consulting with patients in the practice
  • Undertaking a patient home visit
  • Cleaning and dressing wounds
  • Minor surgery
  • Driving on practice business
  • Use of evacuation chairs in the event of an emergency
  • Etc etc.

So what should you do if you want to make sure all is in order before you get inspected, or you know you have work to do in this area, o if you have had a CQC inspection and there is work to do on your Health and safety or Risk Assessments?

A good start would be to book a free telephone/video consultation with Primary Care Health and Safety Trouble-shooter Gary Hepburn at Sirius Business Services Ltd. Gary is one of the leading authorities on Health and Safety in primary care and has advised a wide range of practices, primary care networks, partnerships, local medical committees and other provider organisations. He has in depth healthcare knowledge gained both as a patient, consultant and having held board level appointments in primary care trust, community hospitals and community health provider organisations.

To book your telephone or video consultation with Gary call Sirius Business Services Ltd now free on 0800 999 3998

About Gary Hepburn

Gary Hepburn is Managing Director of Sirius Business Services Ltd who are approved suppliers of the Practice Index and offer, Basic Life Support, AED and Anaphylaxis, Fire Safety and Health & Safety consultancy and training to GP Practices, Dental Practices and Private Hospitals. Visit their page on The Practice Index. Gary is happy to discuss any issues, or concerns Practice Managers may have with existing providers, or to give advice on how the standard of training can be checked, email him at gary@SiriusBusinessServices.co.uk or Telephone 01305 769969