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A faulty production line

CQC overhauls risk rating indicators as GPC declares scheme a 'shambles'

The CQC has overhauled a number of indicators used in its risk ratings scheme, which GPC has said demonstrates the continuing ‘shambles’ of the intelligent monitoring initiative.

The regulator has announced on its website that it is changing indicators relating to the GP Patient Survey meaning that 60 practices given a initial risk rating of 1 or 2 will now be declared to be not a potential risk, and will be informed on Monday.

However, seven practices will also be given a higher risk rating as a result of the changes.

It comes after a huge backlash from the profession after the CQC published the ratings on almost all practices in England, based on QOF data and the GP Patient Survey, which was picked up by national and local media.

Pulse reported there were concerns over the accuracy of much of the data, including for those practices that had dropped elements of QOF and for the indicators relating to the patient survey.

The CQC said it was reviewing the indicators with the Department of Health and the GPC, and as a result it has revised five of the indicators.

The indicators that have been reviewed are:

  • The proportion of respondents to the GP patient survey who stated that the last time they wanted to see or speak to a GP or nurse from their GP surgery they were able to get an appointment;
  • The number of emergency admissions for 19 ambulatory care sensitive conditions per 1,000 population;
  • Ratio of reported versus expected prevalence for COPD;
  • The ratio of expected to reported prevalence of coronary heart disease;
  • Dementia diagnosis rate adjusted by the number of patients in residential care homes.

Professor Nigel Sparrow, senior national GP advisor and responsible officer, said: ‘Following feedback from national and local stakeholders, and working with NHS England, we have now completed a comprehensive review of the data and, as a result, there are a number of changes.

‘The vast majority of GP practices will not be affected by these changes. Overall, 60 practices (less than 1%) previously in higher priority bands 1 and 2 will now move to bands which are of lower priority for inspection. We will contact each of those practices to apologise for any concern this may have caused GPs, their staff and their patients. We will also contact the seven practices which will move into a higher priority band as a result of these changes. Updated IM reports and more information will be available on our website from Monday.’

He added that the CQC wanted to ‘reinforce the message that the banding is not a judgement’. Professor Sparrow said: ‘Intelligent monitoring will never be used in isolation to make a final judgement or produce a rating of a GP practice.’

However, Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair, said this was another part of the ‘shambles’ that is the CQC’s intelligent monitoring scheme.

He told Pulse: ‘The reality is that this is a shambles and the CQC should have listened to us before releasing the first set of information. We called for it not to be published in advance and they ignored that.

‘They have agreed to work with us on developing a new system but it seems crazy to be tinkering around with something that is fundamentally flawed and has seriously damaged the reputation of many good practices and good GPs.

He added: ‘They should be withdrawing this flawed banding system.’

Readers' comments (32)

  • What possessed them to publish their pre-judgements anyway? Internal strategy should have remained just that until/unless validity was proved. I think we all know how little publicity the revisions will receive cf the previous headlines

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  • Vinci Ho

    Is it more appropriate to apologise openly than messing around with the ratings?
    Remember what GMC said about we should apologise to our patients if indicated ??
    SF should speak in an open press conference to explain all these to the public .

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  • All the Einsteins on the planet in one group - NHSE and CQC. Also Doc Holliday, John Wesley Hardin and Curly Bill Brocius together- shoot them dead first, ask questions later. This shambles actually reflects the IQ and EQ of Prof Field and Sparrow. Please make up your own minds on these levels.

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  • So glad that we reported problems to CQC re GPPS005 on 17th November - reassured that they would respond in 10 days - Hadn't realised they really meant we could read about it in Pulse after 15....

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  • Professors Field, Sparrow and Merion Thomas. It is not enough that we do see 92% ON 8%. We are done for.

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  • It is too late, the damage is done.
    Field needs to resign.

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  • I should be angry and surprised, but those feelings are dwarved by the sadness that so few can upset so many, so easily through incompetence

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  • The sad fact is that I am not surprised, it is exactly what we have come to expect over the last few years.
    Rubbish spouted, not prepared to listen to reasonable arguments, shown to be incompetent and have their own political agenda, and then, when they are proved wrong, they refuse to apologise and move in to the next debacle.
    I honestly don't know of any other group who has been treated so badly for so long and cannot imagine why people put up with it.

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  • Shamelessly damaging professional reputations built up over many years and then lamely apologising. Steve Field needs to resign.I really can't see that he can continue. If he clings on then we need a petition of no confidence.

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  • How are they going to compensate affected practices in terms of time spent explaining this nonsense to patients and also the loss of reputation...? Clearly the revised scored are not going to make the front pages of the papers....

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