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GPC demands further delay and 'radical' rethink of CQC registration

GP leaders have demanded the Government rip up its plans for registering practices with the Care Quality Commission, rethink ‘overly burdensome' registration requirements and further delay the April 2013 deadline for the registration of all practices.

In a strongly-worded response to the Government's consultation on CQC registration, the GPC warned that the current plans would see GPs deluged with paperwork and diverted away from treating patients. Read the full response here.

And it attacked the revised timescales laid out by the Government in May, saying it opposed plans to make out-of-hours GP practices and NHS walk-in centres register by April 2012, and warning the requirement for ‘all primary medical services' to register by April 2013 could be unrealistic.

The GPC hit out at what it said were current plans for GPs to pay for CQC registration ‘from their personal income' and urged the CQC to review its fees to ensure lower costs for GP practices than nursing and care homes, to reflect the fact that the 'risk of adverse events in general practice' is lower.

The GPC also criticised the Government's plans to link the RCGP's practice accreditation scheme with CQC registration. The RCGP scheme, which the GPC labelled ‘extremely expensive and burdensome', is currently voluntary for GPs. The GPC said it would ‘strenuously oppose' any alignment of practice accreditation with CQC registration, fearing it could pressurise GPs into using the RCGP scheme and place a huge administrative burden on practices.

'We welcome the proposal to delay the registration by the CQC of most primary medical services providers. However, we believe that this delay will only be of value if it is used to reduce radically the proposed registration requirements for GP practices, in order to prevent resources being diverted away from patients and to more closely align the compliance requirements for practices with the low level of risk that they pose,' the GPC response said.

'We have concerns about the capacity of the CQC to manage the registration and compliance of all primary medical services providers from April 2013, and would suggest that consideration is given to a more flexible approach when that date is reached.'

It added: ‘We have serious concerns that the CQC's current expectations (backed by an overly rigid legislative framework)…will create an additional and unnecessary administrative burden that will disrupt GP practices and divert time away from patients.'

‘We do not believe that the present proposals offer any added value for practices or patients, nor do we believe that GPs should pay for CQC activity from their personal income, which is what is currently expected to happen.'

A CQC spokesperson said: 'We are and will be been working very closely with the BMA and other stakeholders in the sector to help tailor the regulations to the sectors needs. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulations are set out in legislation in the Health and Social care Act 2008; questions about changes to the scope of those regulations are best addressed by the Department of Health.' 

IN QUOTES: THE GPC RESPONSE ON...

The CQC registration deadline

  • 'We have concerns about the capacity of the CQC to manage the registration and compliance of all primary medical services providers from April 2013, and would suggest that consideration is given to a more flexible approach when that date is reached.
  • 'We do not agree that the registration of dedicated out of hours primary medical services providers and NHS walk-in centres should go ahead in 2012'

The administrative burden of CQC registration

  • 'We have serious concerns that the CQC's current expectations (backed by an overly rigid legislative framework) for the demonstration of compliance will create an additional and unnecessary administrative burden that will disrupt GP practices and divert time away from patients.'
  • 'The risk associated with GP practices is relatively low when compared with nursing homes and hospitals, for example, so the level of administrative burden should be adjusted accordingly.'

Plans for GPs to foot the bill for CQC registration

  • 'We do bot believe that the present proposals offer any added value for practices or patients, nor do we believe that GPs should pay for CQC activity from their personal income, which is what is currently expected to happen'

Linking practice accreditation and CQC registration

  • 'We will strenuously oppose any alignment of the two schemes, particularly if it leads to an increase in the CQC registration requirements.'

Read the full response here

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