A friend of mine recently made me smile, as we were discussing recent pieces of work I have done for the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Her comment was ‘Blimey you’ve gone over to the dark side’. This is the reputation the CQC has; however, although I have only been on three inspections I have learnt so much. My role has been to chat to service users and ask how they feel they have been treated. I don’t just ask the questions about this, and I use the following as prompts: is the service ‘safe, well led, caring, effective and responsive’. It’s a skill that I am still mastering to use the way people feel about the care below.
It has certainly been an eye opener. As a patient of many areas of health in Nottingham how lucky I feel my treatment has in the most part been very good. A hospital I went to had buildings that looked like Anderson shelters. The recovery room at the hospital was at the top of a steep corridor, so there was a pulley system almost like a ski lift to take the trolleys up.
I have spoken to many patients who have had many different health issues and feelings. The one I remember more than anything was an elderly lady who was wheelchair bound. She was in a nursing home in Nottinghamshire. She was in the lounge watching the French open and had an incredible smile on her face so I couldn’t resist talking to her. It turned out she had played tennis nationally. Previously I had found older people difficult to relate to, but this lady was so happy talking about tennis. I don’t want to make it look easy to go into a service, and sometimes inspections can make it difficult for staff. As many of you will have seen on the television about mistreatment of patients, it’s the CQC’s role to make sure this doesn’t happen. Some of the inspections have discovered bad practice; this is often from learnt behaviour by new staff coming in and being incorrectly trained.
So if you hear that the CQC is coming please don’t look at them as the dark side, I haven’t seen Darth Vader yet, they are there to help, and stop bad practice. Services that have been inspected will be able to blow away the dark side and help bring about a lighter side for those unfortunately are being treated in many ways by the NHS.
I realise this isn’t going to happen overnight but we need to keep walking towards the light and be happy that the dark side is very slowly becoming that bit lighter.