The Care Quality Commission has published an update for providers on the importance of older and disabled people being able to access hospital care and treatment for COVID-19 and other conditions when they need it.
The regulator says that if providers are putting in place local guidelines or decision-making protocols on access to care and treatment, these should “always ensure” that clinical decisions and pathways are not discriminatory and enable equal access to hospital care.
“It is vitally important that older and disabled people living in care homes and in the community can access hospital care and treatment for COVID-19 and other conditions when they need it during the pandemic,” the CQC said.
“Protocols, guidelines and triage systems should be based on equality of access to care and treatment. If they are based on assumptions that some groups are less entitled to care and treatment than others, this would be discriminatory. It would also potentially breach human rights, including the right to life, even if there were concerns that hospital or critical care capacity may be reached.”
The update follows a joint statement from the CQC and the Care Provider Alliance, which condemned GPs across the country for categorising people who receive care in community settings as not requiring resuscitation if they fall ill with coronavirus.
The CQC has reiterated that it is “unacceptable” for advance care plans, with or without do not attempt resuscitation (DNAR) form completion, to be applied to groups of people of any description.
“These decisions must continue to be made on an individual basis according to need, and with the involvement of the individual or their families,” the regulator said.
For more information on what the CQC expects from providers, click here.