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Independents' Day

CQC will restart routine GP practice inspections from this autumn

Routine inspections of lower-risk GP practices will recommence this autumn, the CQC has announced.

Meanwhile, its inspectors are currently also scheduling inspections of higher-risk GP practices to take place over the summer.

The regulatory body stopped routine inspections on 16 March, as the Covid-19 crisis was worsening.

Instead it established a system of ‘remote’ monitoring, which has seen it only focusing on GP practices where they had been alerted to risk.

According to the CQC, this has led to three inspections within primary medical services, each of which was prompted by concerns raised by staff or members of the public.

Since last month, the CQC has been checking in over the phone with GP practices in England, under its 'emergency support framework' (ESF).

The CQC said in a statement: 'As the situation evolves and the impact on the health and social care system changes, we’ll be adapting the ESF tool to be used alongside our responsive visits and a managed return to routine inspection of lower risk services in the autumn. Inspectors are now scheduling inspections of higher risk services to take place over the summer.'

The CQC said this comes as it has experienced an increase in calls from staff voicing concerns about care during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of these, 32% included fears about how infection control or social distancing was being practiced at the service they worked in, while 4% referred to quality of care being impacted by the virus.

Chief inspector of adult social care Kate Terroni said: ‘It's in everyone’s interests that staff are able to speak up freely and are not prevented from raising their concerns about quality and safety – and all providers have a responsibility to support their staff to share concerns safely without fear of reprisal.

‘Staff have been going to extraordinary lengths to deliver good, safe care during this global crisis – if they are experiencing barriers to the delivery of that care, we want to hear from them and we are encouraged that so many staff have been brave enough to raise concerns with us.’

It comes as GP leaders have warned against reintroduction of bureaucracy in general practice to pre-pandemic levels.

RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall celebrated the ‘dramatic reduction in administrative tasks’ that had not been seen for up to a decade prior, and argued that regulation had ‘become disproportionate’.

And, last week, the BMA's GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey warned that the Government must ‘reflect very carefully’ before reintroducing GP bureaucracy.

This came as the BMA's latest tracker survey found over half of GPs feel relieved by the temporary easing of bureaucracy during the pandemic.

Readers' comments (31)

  • That's good news. We were worried that by autumn it would be so quiet we would have literally nothing to do. Spending a day with the CQC teams will be a real boost to morale and a huge plus for patients.

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  • carfentanyl | GP Partner/Principal17 Jun 2020 5:01pm

    - Even if any CQC bots read your comment, I don't think they get sarcasm... :)

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  • Thank goodness, will finally sleep easy tonight.

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  • Dear Editor,

    CQC (Care Quality Commission), which is only found in the English NHS, costs £234 million a year (2018-19), the cost of a district general hospital every year. It costs the same again to the NHS because of the time taken to manage inspections. A CEO of an acute trust told me earlier this year that he spent 3 months managing a CQC inspection, this last 3 months he is working with doctors and nurses at the frontline saving lives and producing amazing quality improvements in the NHS under very difficult circumstances. The first rationing should be to the cost of bureaucracies and regulators, in order to ensure nurses and doctors are allowed to completely focus all their energy and NHS resources on patient care and recovering the NHS for those patients with non covid illnesses, including cancers, that have had their treatments delayed. The simple equation is 100 of millions of pounds spent on CQC or frontline services and saving thousands of lives.

    Professor Sir Sam Everington
    GP, Chair Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group

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  • Martin Marshall -can't you do something about them? Earn your spurs.

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  • Haven't seen any evidence that the CQC have improved/enhanced General Practice one iota over the years that they have been annoying us. They have only demoralised and irritated. Sure we have policies covering everything, policies that nobody ever refers to because they are utter drivel; sure we have tick boxes that we dutifully tick; sure we have the outstanding rating. But they are a joyless finance sapping clipboard whielding timewasting quango with a 'dementor' (thanks JK Rowling) effect on GP function and morale.

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  • Tired all the time. Their name and "box-ticking, myth-busting, non-intelligence rating, hypocritical duty of candour" style is soul destroying. Nice regulation and support of care homes and prevention of DEAD people. Why don't they regulate the DoH and NHSE? Start at the top, then we might get somewhere?

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  • Well said Sam. Sadly it will fall on deaf ears.

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  • Is GP in Scotland less safe, less professional, less organised, than down here in England ? Not a bit and when you look at the costs as per Sam's excellent and succinct comments this expensive, non productive organisation needs to trimmed massively. They obviously will not do that themselves but with this country even more skint than before, the powers that be, must raise the matter!

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  • Hurray so pleased to here this, those poor unemployed GP Spa

    While on infection control issue may I suggest the self isolation protocol from NHS E and endoscopic procedure?

    14 days self isolation for the team pre inspection and if coming to Humberside can I also suggest the abandoned war time forts in the estuary as suitable?

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