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GPs receive too few complaints, suggests CQC

GP practices should do more to ‘welcome concerns’ from patients, the CQC has said, after a review found that there are ‘no or very low numbers of complaints’ made against them.

Commenting on preliminary data from CQC inspections of GP practices the CQC said providers report that ‘they receive very few complaints’.

However instead of concluding that this meant the service was good, the CQC said it indicated ‘a variation in the provision of awareness of advocacy and suport to assist people who wanted to complain’.

In a report published today, the CQC said: ‘Many adult social care and GP practice inspectors felt that they did not have enough evidence to answer the questions, often because the locations inspected had received no or very low numbers of complaints.

‘Where inspectors could provide an answer, it was generally positive about how providers were handling complaints. However, the responses did indicate variation in the provision and awareness of advocacy and support to assist people who wanted to complain.’

It added: ‘Many… providers report that they receive very few complaints; and so this suggests more could be done to encourage an open culture where concerns are welcomed.’

Under the new CQC inspection regime, patients will be interviewed about how they think their practice handles complaints. Inspectors will also be reviewing samples of complaints files to see how they were dealt with. Reported complaints will also prioritise practices for inspection under the CQC’s new ‘intelligent monitoring’ system.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the CQC’s report showed this ‘crucial part’ of the CQC’s ‘tough, independent inspection regime’ showed there was more to do with regards to complaints.

He said: ‘As part of our drive to confront poor care we’re making sure people know how to complain and transforming complaints handling – now a crucial part of the CQC’s tough, independent inspection regime. Today’s report shows both that that progress has been made and that there’s still more to do.’

The news comes as it was revealed today that the CQC is overhauling its ‘intelligent monitoring’ tool for risk rating GP practices after admitting its methodology was inaccurate.

Readers' comments (65)

  • Vinci Ho

    This is so typical of Ministry of Love and Agent Hunt.
    Come on , guys , send in your comments .

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  • I've mentioned Orwell before but this truly is psychotically dystopian. I'm sitting here about to have 40-50 patient contacts in the context of an underfunded system that I have to repeatedly apologise for and you want to find more ways to complain about me??

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  • All part of Hunt's child-like "masterplan".....What a Hunt....

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  • surely there should be some sort of target as to the number of complaints we're meant to achieve . Possibly a certain quota in each category .

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  • Vinci Ho

    WAR IS PEACE.

    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.

    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

    Is it illegal to give free copies of 1984 to patients or this is labelled as another 'risk' ?

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  • Absolute bonkers- Encouraging GPs to invite complaints !!
    GP concerns about CQC and NHSE don't touch a cord and slide as if off duckback but one complaint against a GP can ruin the individual physically, morally and even result in closure of a Practice. We still take care of every complaint and deal with it.
    A bit of self criticism from these bloated CQC ( and other) bosses would be a welcome change.

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  • GP: Mrs X, the plan is for you to bring your BP and diabetes under control. we hav discussed weight loss, giving up smoking and in addition you will need this medications. we will recheck blds in 3/12 and rev BP with nurse in 4wks.
    pt: thank you dr. I will try my best but giving up smoking is very difficult and have tried previously.
    GP: would you like some help eg referral to stop smoking service.
    pt: no thank you.
    GP: CQC has asked me to have an open culture. if you are not satisfied with today's consultation please do let us know your concerns and here is practices policy for complaints.
    pt: thank you

    soon the consultation model would be like above and tested in CSA.

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  • The complaints system is now so stacked against GPs that it has created a culture of fear. It's now incredibly easy for patients to escalate the complaint via the ombudsman, the GMC, the patients association and the medico-legal industry. This is promoting defensive medicine which risks harming people through over-investigation and treatment.

    Since the 'intelligent monitoring' omni-shambles, the CQC has damaged its brand and lost the trust of GPs. The last thing it should be doing is promoting a system that causes incredible harm to both doctors and patients.

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  • Full frontal assault on General Practice by another unaccountable NHS tax payer funded failing quango.

    Mass resignation of GPs from the NHS a month before the election ought to give politicians something to think about. Might even cost Jeremy Hunt his seat.

    Co-payments and an insurance based system just in time for the Depresssion that's on its way due to the UK's debt spiral and imminent bankruptcy. At least this way GPs will have a chance to feed their families. (For what happens to healthcare and government workers when the state can no longer afford to pay them see Greece and Argentina).

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  • Bob Hodges

    Guilty until proven guilty!

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