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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

CQC chief inspector: no 'concessions' will be made for GP capacity issues

Exclusive The CQC is 'not going to be making any concessions' for GP practices during inspections, despite acknowledging the pressures facing the sector, the watchdog’s new chief inspector of primary care has said.

Earlier this month, in its annual report on the state of health and adult social care in England, the CQC said that a 'large group of GP practices' have deteriorated to a lower rating due to 'ongoing capacity pressures'. 

But in an interview with Pulse, Dr Rosie Benneyworth, CQC chief inspector of primary medical services, revealed the regulator would not be loosening its approach to regulation.

Instead the CQC will be focussing more on how practices work with other services in their area because this could help to solve some of the pressures facing GPs, she said.

Dr Benneyworth said she wants GPs to see the CQC as a ‘critical friend’ that can ‘put a mirror up’ to practices to show where improvements are needed.

She said: 'We’re not going to be making concessions, ultimately our purpose is to ensure that patients get high quality and safe care.

'We know that practices are under huge demand and that’s making it very challenging. 

'But we are seeing different practices in different parts of the country really address those challenges by remodeling what they’re doing within their practice, working in conjunction with partner agencies across the local area, thinking about what their population needs are and how they can respond to those.'

She added: 'The thing that we’re already starting to test out, but we’re looking at how we can expand, is actually when we look at our inspection's key lines of enquiry, how much are people working in partnership with other organisations around them?'

Dr Benneyworth said in particular health services working with social care organisations was 'crucial'.

She added: ‘Where I’d like to get to is that we are seen as part of the solution to practices improving - that we’re able to be seen as a critical friend who goes in, who can actually put a mirror up to the practice and help them identify where their priorities for improvement should be.’

Meanwhile, she said the CQC’s new approach of phoning highly-rated practices every year instead of inspecting them as often had helped to ‘build relationships between inspector and practice’.

She said: ‘It started to enable our inspectors to have a much better understanding of the context and the changes that are happening within the local area and within the practice. And it’s hopefully going to breakdown some of those barriers between the CQC and practices going forward.’

 

Readers' comments (51)

  • I wonder if complex patients having a social care component to their problems is being conflated with social care being the sole issue by many thought leaders in the NHS.

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  • How much coal face clinical work has the chief inspector done in the last 5 years. If it's less than 6 sessions per week she has no right to comment on "pressures facing the sector". Get back to the front line and do what you were trained to do.

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  • Shame on her/them COC should suspend all assessments' until the workforce issue is properly addressed.It is actually the patients who are affected by CQC closing practices in a negative way. The Gps generally just retire early and leave primary care in a worse place. Armageddon is still to come when those of us in 50s retire in the next few years then CQC really will have a job on its hands

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  • Glad I work in Scotland, no Qof or cqc and the job is still shite! Just burgeoning demand and a tortured pension to contend with 💩

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  • Nhsfatcat

    Airline, capacity issue, no pilots, plane grounded. Airline goes bust. Everyone is safe but no service.

    Capacity issue is No1 safety issue. CQC is negligent is it doesn’t shut us down. No service, how safe is that!

    We cannot be judged by commercial safety standards or otherwise unless there is finance and well evidenced rules on optimal GP/or/consultation length and No. per GP. Staff/pt ratio and secondary care provision also needs assessment when deciding whether WE are poor or outstanding! Most GP services are outstanding in the context in which they find themselves operating.
    Shame we can’t compare the CQC against any other regulatory body...

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  • 'But we are seeing different practices in different parts of the country really address those challenges by remodeling what they’re doing within their practice, working in conjunction with partner agencies across the local area, thinking about what their population needs are and how they can respond to those.'

    It sounds like Dr Benneyworth is setting up the CQC to be more like management consultants - in which case she is going to have to come up with better ideas than this.

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  • "Mirror" I am not sure GP needs a mirror in this conversation. The problem is when resources are stretched priorities have to be made. No senior officials with whom the power lies are patently to politically weak or chicked to make these hard decisions so defer them to the coal face. Then snipe from the safe place away from the front line. Triage means occasionally leaving one potentially retreivable injury to deal with 10 more easily retreivable injuries. Based on available resources nd doing the most good. GP is at this point I feel. And as CQC don't see resourcing as an issue affecting quality they become another nail in the coffin rather than the resus room the system needs.

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  • CQC has become GMC .Till some tragedy happen they will not change their attitude. Reduce strength of CQC by 50% and their remuneration by 60% and make them feel work pressure and performance.

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  • Clearly the most important qualification to be the Chief Inspector for CQC is to remove any ability to think critically and be a non critical friend of an NHS destroying government. And of course don’t forget about the Thankyou gong at the end.......

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  • CQC needs to stand up and be clear that many problems are outside of the practice’s ability to remedy. Almost all problems in recruitment, capacity, retention, facilities and estates would disappear if only we were decently funded. We need to return to 11% of total NHS funding ASAP, and - given that 90% of all patient contacts with the NHS are in general practice - preferably more.
    CQC support would be invaluable in this, if only they had the courage to draw the right conclusions and state the obvious. Instead their published reports are damaging to the reputation and morale of each practice, and are essentially perpetuating the NHs habit of victim-blaming.

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