Can you answer a few questions?

ARCHIVED POST N.B. This post is based on the 2012 Osteopathic Practice Standards and therefore may not reflect current legislation or current Mint procedures.

Are you safe?

Are you effective?

Are you caring?

Are you responsive to people’s needs?

Is your service well-led?

You may be able to confidently answer yes to each of these questions both as a practitioner and a clinic but how would you fare if you were asked to produce evidence that you are achieving in these five areas.

These are the 5 questions the Care Quality Commission asks of the services it inspects. As private clinics you will not fall under the remit of the CQC but nevertheless it is a useful exercise to consider how you would measure up. As practitioners you are striving to achieve excellence in care and service and using a framework to consider how you measure up is a helpful exercise.

Let’s consider each of the 5 areas and what evidence you could produce:

1) Safety

Handling complaints, duty of candour, health and safety, safeguarding adults and children, record handling, risk assessments, safe handling of substances, cleanliness and hygiene, infection control, equipment maintenance, safe waste disposal, safe access and escape from premises, safe working environment for staff, staff support, procedures for covering for staff, responding to emergencies.

All staff understand and apply these responsibilities.

2) Effective

Evidence based treatments, no discrimination, identify learning needs and develop, performance monitoring, referrals procedures, consent, capacity to consent, advice and support given to patients, DNA follow-ups, referral follow-ups.

3) Caring

Dignity, respect, compassion, taking account of personal, cultural, social and religious needs, respecting privacy and dignity, respect confidentiality, good communication of diagnosis, agreed treatment/care, shared decision making, appropriate support/advice given

4) Responsive

Flexibility of care/service for needs of population e.g. male/female practitioners, home appointments, longer appointment times where necessary, convenient appointment times etc., premises and facilities well-kept and suitable, easy to make appointments, cancellation procedures, services on-time, complaints procedures in place and handled effectively and confidentially, transparency in dealing with complaints,

5) Well-led

Clear vision and strategy, set of values with quality as a priority, progress monitored and reviewed, performance measures, staff supported, respected, valued, approachable leaders, regular meetings where staff participate and express views – engaged and involved in planning and delivery of services/culture, Culture of continuous learning, improvement and innovation, information used to improve quality of services.

Examples of bad practice from the CQC, you can read specific examples of good and bad practice from clinics on the website.

  Bad Practice
Safe No analysis of significant events

Safeguarding protocols not robust and staff not trained

Not screening staff properly when recruiting

Effective No clinical audits or evaluation of service

Not caring for patients using up-to-date best practice

Caring Little concern for patients privacy and dignity in reception and waiting areas
Responsive Poor availability of appointments at times which suit patients

No same-sex clinicians

Difficult to contact practice by telephone

Well-led Absence of vision for the organisation

Lack of clarity of roles and responsibilities to run the practice day to day

Poor visibility of leaders and no whole practice meetings


As you have read through these 5 categories there will probably be some where you feel confident of good practice so well done. There will also be at least one area or maybe several areas where you can identify opportunities for improvement. Don’t be overwhelmed if there are several areas. Make an action plan, take one item at a time, prioritised by importance to your practice and engage your clinic team in starting to make improvements. Quality care is a continuum so there will always be areas for improvement and developing your clinic and this is part of the enjoyment of working towards achieving and maintaining an outstanding clinic in all aspects. Let us know any areas you are going to work on so practitioners can encourage one another and share learning.

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