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Practices must train staff on interacting with people with a learning disability

by Beth Gault, Caitlin Tilley
4 July 2022

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All CQC-registered providers must now ensure their staff are trained on how to interact appropriately with people with a learning disability and those with autism.

The legal requirement was introduced by the Health and Care Act 2022 and came into effect on 1 July 2022. The training should be at a level appropriate to the staff member’s role.

As part of this law, the government is set to consult on and publish a code of practice that will outline the content, delivery and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the training. However, the CQC said this would likely take 12 months to be published.

Until this is published, the CQC will provide statutory guidance for practices and other providers. Assessments and inspections will also now include whether staff have received this training and if providers have assessed the competencies of their staff following the training.

However, it said it would ‘not be looking at what the training itself has involved’.

Debbie Ivanova, director for people with a learning disability and autistic people at CQC, said: ‘By ensuring that staff in all services receive training appropriate to their role – whether in an acute hospital, dentist practice, GP surgery, or a place where people live – they will be able to further develop the skills to make sure that people with a learning disability and autistic people receive the right care.’

It follows findings that there are ‘too many’ people with a learning disability or autism ending up in hospital, with a ‘lack of community services’ that can provide early intervention and crisis support a contributing factor.

CQC reconsidering primary care regulation

Meanwhile, the CQC has also said it would be ‘considering what the best model’ for primary care regulation is, while announcing its hospitals inspector will be taking over regulating primary care on an interim basis.

CQC’s Dr Sean O’Kelly will take on the role of interim director for primary care in addition to his job of chief hospitals inspector.

The current chief inspector of primary care at CQC, Dr Rosie Benneyworth, will leave the role this summer.

In an update, the CQC said it is ‘considering what is the best model for the future’ to inspect general practice.

It said: ‘As the legislation that establishes CQC makes clear, there must [be] someone to discharge the role of chief inspector of general practice. 

‘Most recently this has been carried out by the chief inspector of primary medical services and integrated care, and we will be considering what is the best model for the future.’

From 1 July, ICBs will take over from CCGs, with the CQC planning to rate ICSs. 

The CQC said: ‘As we think about the future shape and configuration of the systems and providers that we regulate – with increasing collaboration across health and care services – we need to consider how we can most effectively continue to provide constructive oversight of services and give people assurance about the quality of care they can expect.’

At the start of this year, the CQC said its inspection and monitoring methodology ‘may inadvertently disadvantage’ ethnic minority-run GP practices and lead to ‘inequities’.

Government review of arm’s length bodies (ALBs), announced in May, could see the CQC abolished.

Some of this story was based on an article initially published on our sister title Pulse.

Management in Practice is holding an event in Liverpool on 7 July. Sign up here to get your free place and hear sessions on QOF, how to have difficult conversations in your practice, an update on NHS pension changes, tackling health inequalities and more.

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