Avoid Committing an Offence: 3 Steps to Notify CQC of Drugs Errors

The CQC has recently issued clarification on the requirement to complete statutory notifications in relation to medication errors, after some providers were presented with what it describes as ‘misinformation’. Failure to complete statutory notifications as required is an offence under the Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009, so it is essential that all providers know exactly what is notifiable and the process to follow in order to ensure that this is done effectively. Read on to find out whether or not drug errors require reporting and how you can ensure that you avoid committing an offence.

Clearly, the lack of clarity in relation to whether or not a medication error is notifiable has led to some confusion amongst some care providers. With the type of errors found in care homes ranging from the relatively straightforward ‘failure to sign’, through to serious overdoses with the potential to cause major harm, providers have been unsure if an error requires formal notification. Ensuring you are up to date and aware of how the regulations apply to your service is an important part of fulfilling your role.

3 Steps to Notify CQC of Drug Errors

    1. Understand the regulations. There is actually no requirement to notify CQC about medication errors. However, a notification would be required if a medicine error led to notification in relation to one of the following:
      • A death
      • An injury
      • Abuse or an allegation of abuse
      • An incident reported to or investigated by the police.

In these instances, you should make it clear that a medicine error was a known or possible cause or effect of these incidents or events being notified.

  1. Use the correct route. Notifications can be made using the appropriate form, available from the CQC website, and emailing it to HSCA_notifications@cqc.org.uk, or, for those providers who have access, via the Provider Portal. In cases where internet access is temporarily unavailable, CQC still permits forms to be submitted by post.
  2. Delegate appropriately. CQC regulations state that the ‘registered person’ must submit notifications. Although this is usually the Registered Manager, you may also delegate this task to appropriate members of your team. However, you should ensure that your arrangements clearly show who is responsible for submitting notifications and ensure that they have appropriate training so that CQC is informed of notifiable events correctly and within the required timescales. Once delegated, it remains the registered person’s responsibility to ensure that notifications are made and you will be committing an offence if you fail to do so. Your arrangements for delegation of this task must, therefore, be very clear.

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