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CQC considers inspecting GPs on different nights

Exclusive The CQC has said it will review the timings of its inspections of out-of-hours services so it captures ‘typical service provision’ outside of quieter times.

In the regulator’s Annual Report and Accounts, published today, it said its evaluation of the new inspection regime highlighted that some out-of-hours providers have been ‘quiet’ at the time of the site visit, which ‘raises the question’ of the effectiveness of the inspection.

The evaluation comes after the new regime - devised by the chief inspector of primary care, Professor Steve Field, has come in for criticism for using untrained GP inspectors to ‘fill in gaps’ on inspections.

Feedback from wave one of the was to ensure the inspectors visit different nights, rather than just on a single night as was the case in the pilots - to get a sense of how the service is run and so they can speak to the people who use the service.

The annual report, which covers all areas of the CQC, said that the regulator had found some areas where the new regime could improve.

One of these, it said, was: ‘The timing of the inspection: some services have been very quiet at the time of the site visit, which raises the question of whether we are capturing typical out-of-hours service provision.’

Dr Robert Morley, chair of the GPC contracts and regulations subcommittee: ‘Are they suggesting they go and revisit everywhere to get a “true” picture if they don’t find the place as busy as they’d like?

‘Why on earth should an inspection at a quiet time not be satisfactory evidence that all is also well when it’s busy? If it were true then I would suggest that it means that the CQC’s processes are still not fit for purpose rather than that they don’t have enough evidence about the service. I expect they think that if they visit a service when it’s under real pressure they’ll be more likely to find something they can criticise to get their brownie points.’

However, Professor Steve Field, the chief inspector of primary care, said: ‘We continue to run pilot inspections to test the new proposed approach up until October 2014.’

‘As part of the pilot stage, we are gathering evidence that will help inform what the new approach will be.  We welcome any areas for improvement identified during testing and will ensure these are addressed, including any issues around consistency and clarity around inspection team roles.  We are also currently testing the size and the composition of the inspection teams as part of the testing stage.’

The report also said that the CQC needs to find more consistency and that the role of the inspection team needs to be clearly defined to ensure they are know what they should inspecting.

The report added: ‘The early inspections highlighted several areas for development: Consistency and the need to clearly define roles of inspection team members and what they should be looking at.’

Last month, the GPC asked whether CQC ‘can be trusted’ after it claimed broad support for Ofsted-style ratings.

Please note: This article was amended at 12:20pm on 14 July 2014


Readers' comments (9)

  • The CQC likes to see GP practices respond to it's populations requests with regards to access and availability.

    Therefore it should equally respond to their client's requests with regards to timings of visits.

    Then again the CQC likes to make sure practice staff have had appropriate training and pre-employment checks - yet it does not bother with making the same assessment with it's own staff.

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  • Makes sense for CQC should see the service at the time that most patients see it for a true appreciation of how it works.
    BUT, and it's an important but, that must not be at the cost of impeding / just plain getting in the ruddy way of practices at that busy and important time.

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  • If one refuses to speak to the CQC inspector for 4 hours during a monday morning would that be seen as a positive as the practice was responding to consumer/punter/patient demand or would they be affronted?

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  • So, on Monday morning when I usually ask all staff to put their effort into managing bulging requests from patients from appointment to scripts, CQC expects us to take time out to comply with their inspection?

    This shows how utterly out of touch they are. If we had 10 min to talk to them, we could see an extra patient during the same time. Our the time I spent reading the useless policies required by cqc may be spent better on patient care. They should perhaps realize they are contributing to access problem in general practice.

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  • just ask the CQC inspector, are they one of of the 10% that failed to be adequate at the intake assessment, then ask them to prove it. Failing that ask them to leave

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  • Bob Hodges

    The CQC is determined to become the embodiment of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

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  • Una Coales

    Ramped up CQC inspections, looming revalidation interrogation dates, increased numbers of GMC scrutiny of doctors, incarceration for 'wilful neglect', pay cuts for NHS GP practices, little control over patient influx and demands on a cash strapped healthcare service, pandering to unreasonable patient (voter) demands of a 7/7 service from GPs and now hospital consultants, GP partners see a drop in drawings and stress over paying out staff redundancies, GP burnout on the increase, recruitment figures drop, medical students burdened with up to £83k in student loans, NHS pension age moved to 68 with less out for more in, and so on and so forth....One burning question....WHEN WILL THE BMA trade union BALLOT ITS MEMBERS on some form of industrial action (mass resignation, strike, OOHs boycott), ie the only leverage any trade union has to ensure fair pay and fair working conditions?

    Why were NHS workers conspicuously absent from a strike march of up to a million public sector workers (teachers, firefighters, etc) asking for a humble £1/h increase in pay at the same time Cameron is on £142k and MPs face a 11% pay rise from 2015 or £74k?

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  • coming soon ...

    - CQC to inspect at any time 24/7
    - CQC checklist to increase from 42 areas to 420 + areas
    - any failures and practice is suspended till faults rectified and by suspended it means no income from NHSE but you still have to see to your patients until the 'fault' is rectified
    - name and shame to be the norm i.e. all GPs to be named and shamed automatically just in case they might do something in the future
    etc ...

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  • dr steve field..please resign
    no gp should touch with a bargepole this kafkaesque madness.
    cqc should be abolished and replaced by clinical governance not yet another fascist bullying system..which will certainly fail to fulfil its purported purpose..bad care will go underground ..any professional should see this idea is prize idiocy.
    seems like there are numerous insane ideas coming out of doh weekly now..
    young gp..go do not deserve this treatment..i apologise our leadership in its supine weakness is failing you so abjectly.

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