For many, deciding who is going to be the CQC registered manager for your practice is another layer of red tape and often practice owners delegate this role to the practice manager who is in the majority of cases, an employee.
Appointing your practice manager is a route many practices take given that the role of CQC registered manager is “to manage the regulated activity on behalf of the practice owner, where the practice owner is not going to be in day-to-day charge of the regulated activities themselves.”
The registered manager has legal responsibilities in relation to that position. A registered manager shares the legal responsibility for meeting the requirements of the relevant regulations and legislation with the practice owner as the regulated provider. The role of a registered manager goes hand in hand with managing the practice.
However, what happens when your employee registered manager hands in her notice to terminate her employment, or is found guilty of gross misconduct and has her employment terminated overnight?
Under the regulations if a registered manager is going to be absent for 28 days or more there is an obligation on the practice owner to notify CQC. This should be the immediate first step taken by a practice owner where it becomes apparent that the registered manager has left or will be leaving.
From there it is a matter of applying to CQC to appoint a new registered manager as soon as possible, whether it be yourself or another employee or the new practice manager. At the same time, the outgoing registered manager should cooperate in cancelling their registered manager registration. However, if the end of the employment is not amicable this is something which may prove easier said than done! If the employee refuses to cancel their registration it is vital that you take all reasonable steps to rectify the situation. It is nobody’s interest to have an absent registered manager, not least your patients!
In any event, the practice could be left without a registered manager carrying out their obligations in the interim 10-12 weeks whilst the application to appoint a new manager is being processed by CQC.
This is not to say that employees should never be appointed as registered manager but considerations must be given to situations where tomorrow they may no longer be your employee!
How can these issues be avoided?
The CQC registration process cannot be avoided, but making the transition of registered managers smooth without disruption is achievable.
When appointing a new employee who will be the practice’s CQC registered manager, consider:
Having a 10-12 week contractual notice period in place which provides you with a timeframe to deal with the CQC applications to change the registered manager – and negate the need to alert CQC to an absent registered manager;
- Inserting specific provisions in the contract of employment which obliges the employee to do all things necessary and sign all such documents which allow for the change of registered manager during their notice period or/and upon the termination of their employment;
If you are appointing an existing employee as the registered manager, you should issue an updated employment contract and job description which places the above obligations on the employee.
As the above shows, it is not difficult to fall foul of the CQC regulations. However with careful drafting of employment contracts for registered managers and having guidance through the process disruption to the practice can be avoided!