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Baroness Young says GPs will face further clinical scrutiny

By Nigel Praities

The Government's new health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission, plans to use it's powers to ensure GPs implement NICE guidance, its chair Baroness Barbara Young has told Pulse

Baroness Young said the commission would look to enforce NICE guidance, national service frameworks and improve QOF standards in practices.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse, Baroness Young said she wanted to bring GPs under its control from 2010/11 and said she was in discussions with NICE about how the body could regulate standards.

‘One of the things that we and NICE are working on is how can we help with uptake and compliance with NICE standards. I also want to look at how we can help with QOF also,' she said.

Baroness Young also said she - and her newly appointed chief executive Cynthia Bower - planned to be ‘tough but fair' in her dealings with the profession and denied reports there ‘would be a man peering through windows and on every street corner'.

‘We are about quality improvement. I don't want to be the Care Failure Commission, finding those who are failing and just beating them with a stick,' she said.

Baroness Young was formerly chief executive of the Environment Agency and said she laughed when I found how many GPs there were: ‘I said "Hang on a minute I have just finished regulating 190,000 farmers, let's get this into proportion",' she said.

In comments designed to reassure GPs, she said she wanted to make sure the extra layer of regulation was not ‘a bureaucratic nightmare' by trying to use already-available data, such as QOF and the Patient Experience Survey, to assess the quality of practices.

She refused to confirm suggestions that the commission would target GPSIs initially, but did say practices accredited by the RCGP could be allowed to opt out of regulation by the CQC.

‘If the accreditation process is a good one and we can depend on it as a indicator of that practice's performance …then we may use that as a proxy,' she said.

Baroness Barbara Young

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