Here is what you must tell the media if your care home or service receives a bad CQC or CI report.
First off, if your home does get a bad CQC report – or CI report in Scotland – both bodies are likely to proactively contact the media where your home or service is based.
And on their media list be your local newspapers, and local BBC and ITV.
So there is every likelihood your local media will be alerted to your bad CQC report, and local journalists will jump on this as a good “story”.
The answer, therefore, is to make sure you are prepared 10 days in advance for when that CQC/CI report is emailed to journalists.
Get your ducks in a row for when local journalists come knocking at your door [or more likely phoning/emailing] asking for your comment on the report.
And definitely do respond when they ask for your comments.
The worst scenario is when the local media or BBC report on your poor CQC report (whether you’re inadequate, in special measures or needs improvement) and the article states that you were “unavailable for comment”.
It gives the sense to readers that you did not care – or even worse are hiding away in guilt.
So, prepare a written statement of about 300 words that you can email over to the journalist when they approach you.
Never do interviews over the phone, at this stage.
The second most vital thing is that your written statement is honest and factually correct.
This can actually work towards your advantage because, remember, once CQC inspectors have compiled their report you already know what care or management aspects need improving.
So by the time local media are in touch with you you will have already got stuck in implementing an action plan to improve your care quality or being better managed.
And you may have actually already resolved issues flagged up by the inspectors.
This means that while your written statement can acknowledge past deficiencies, you can add that you have already implemented a plan to resolve the flagged up problems.
Moreover, you can state you are in continuous liaison with the CQC and/or your local authority to ensure improvements are made.
This written statement is, therefore, an opportunity for you to state the positive about what you have been doing.
While a bad CQC report will be a hit for your home’s reputation that written statement represents a chance to actually highlight the positive.
Finally, as a general rule – never be defensive in your media statement.
Sure, sometimes CQC/CI reports are unjustified or even plain incorrect.
However, the written statements to the media is – as a general rule – NOT where you state those grievances.
Your local media can be read by tens of thousands, an online article will remain online forever – and you just don’t want ever to come across as defensive.