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GPC funding body supports judicial review against CQC inspections

Exclusive The group that manages the GPC’s funding is supporting a judicial review against the CQC, arguing that its inspection process is not fair, equitable or ‘within the parameters of natural justice’, Pulse has learnt.

A letter from the General Practitioners Defence Fund to LMCs and GPC members revealed that the GPC was taking up the case of a practice that lost an appeal to the CQC about its inspection rating.

It said that, following legal advice, it would use this case to ‘ensure that the CQC process is set before the courts’.

This move comes after the Special LMCs Conference in January called on the GPC to look at ways GPs can lawfully withdraw from CQC regulation.

This represents the first concrete move by the GPC to challenge the CQC processes.

The letter, signed by GPDF treasurer Dr John Canning, said: ‘I am writing to inform you that the GPDF has undertaken to fund a Judicial Review concerning a CQC inspection.’

He said that the background to the case of the practice was ‘complex, and not for public comment at this stage’.

But, he added: ‘I am sure you agree that English GPs find the inspection regime of the CQC to be a heavy burden and one which takes time away from patient care.

‘In this context, the GPDF was made aware of a practice where the inspection report and, subsequently, the ensuing appeal/review process was, in our view, not managed appropriately by the CQC.’

He said the GPDF had taken legal advice. Following this, ‘the GPDF determined that this is a case where it has a responsibility to the GP community to ensure that the CQC process is set before the Courts for Judicial Review on the grounds that the CQC acted in a manner which is neither fair, equitable, reasonable nor operating within the parameters of natural justice.’

The application for the judicial review has been made in the name of the practice, which has not yet been disclosed.

He added: ‘It would not be appropriate to comment further during the Judicial process, but I trust you will agree that the potential risk associated with supporting our fellow practitioner and his practice is one which could only be managed on a national level and, perhaps, not by even the largest of LMCs.’

Pulse understands that the case concerns a practice in Derbyshire that was closed down by the CQC.

A CQC spokesperson said: ‘Our approach to regulation is proportionate and transparent. All providers have the right to appeal regulatory decisions’.

Readers' comments (29)

  • At least one good deed by GPC

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  • Unusual cruelty is another charge. We have been waiting 60 working days for a response to our inspection .

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  • this is what we want to see positive action to support GPs. well done and hopefully reflects a new change in direction from talking to doing. Well done GPC.

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  • How pathetic. How utterly utterly pathetic of the BMA. CQC has been causing havoc for years, they haven't many practices left to inspect before they switch over to the 5 year inspection process so they will have inflicted their Stasi methods on every practice before the BMA has any hope of a judicial review coming to a conclusion, by which time the CQC will have dropped back to a 5 yearly cycle.

    If the BMA had done this 4 years ago, gret. Now they have waited until the horse has bolted to find that there is after all a process to try and close the door beforehand.

    The BMA continues to be utterly useless and years behind the curve

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  • We found the inspection was also very unfair and would question how CQC can fully assess a practice in one day ?? my previous experience in banking .... compliance took at least 2 weeks for each individual branch, a costly system to all !

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  • Overdue, but well done. More please.

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  • Karma is a wonderful thing!

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  • Vincenzo Pascale

    OLE'!! for GPC

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  • Praise where it is due. As one practice that was screwed over by CQC I fully support this action to start using the dry powder for what it was intended for. Let's hope this is the start of the fight back for General Practice.

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  • At least! Basic Human Rights to be able to contest easily an administrative decision! And during that contestant action, the CQC decision being suspended! Unless REAL immediate danger for the public! But which real danger to the public can come from a appraised/revalidated GP???
    The CQC inspection should be a pedagogic one, helping the GP to manage better his surgery, not a repression one!!!

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  • We have our inspection next week. Emergency partners meeting to go through " compulsory documentation tasks" Dr A to make up a mission statement. Dr B to make up the official minutes of a meeting to review the review of our SEA's. Dr C to reaudit 2 audits to prove a whole complete cycle( making up dates to show it was a 12 month cycle) Dr D to cobble together 1000 words on our dealings with the " in trendy buzzwords of our present moment " eg : vulnerable adults, mental capacity act. DOLs , DRBs Hep Bs, patient experience involvement and opinion etc. Me I got " incident reporting" after much discussion we couldn't work out the difference between a SEA , a critical event, an accident and an incident. Did the time our cleaner sprayed air freshener at the smoke alarm and we had to evacuate the building count ? No, we can't use that one , we are using that as evidence of pre arranged fire safety drill !!

    Nurses clearing out rooms and hiding contraband in car boots. Secretaries blue tacking protocols and chaperone signs onto walls. Receptionist trying to memorise the new mission statement. Patients and Patient Care ? No Idea where that is ! Let's just hope no patients get sick till after the inquisition !!

    Staff and doctor stress levels at an all time high and moral at an all time low. And this is our second inspection within not many years !

    Wo hoo. We do have a legionella certificate, we got that , the time the sewerage blocked up and backed up into reception !!

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  • 5 yearly inspections but you pay 2170 per year so each inspection costs a Practice at least 10500 - ie if you are a small practice. CQC has chubby greasy fingers and insatiable appetite.
    High time somebody took them for a spin.
    A positive change to GPC inaction, just keep up that spirit and let it not be a one off.

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  • Good
    We have an inspection soon and the wasted time on a childish exercise will damage patient care as we already beyond full stretch
    Abolish CQC and stop wasting NHS taxpayers money and put it in patient care

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  • I hope that the case involved has been well chosen. A failure to 'win the judicial review' would set things back

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  • This comment has been moderated.

  • time to fight

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  • What would happen if we all refused to pay their fees ? Would they close us all down ?
    Come on. GPC organise this ?

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  • CQC has inflicted such negativity in not only in preparation for their visit but during visit and after the visits. They have to justify their jobs after all as do all other managers. If all that funding was available to improve the practices there would be no need for CQC.
    The fear for the poor staff the time wastage on policy reviews each year when it could be as and when changes need to be made.. Well done GPC take it further please it is not doctoring any more, it is sattisfying CQC CCG and so on.
    The poor doctors who have worked for many years for their patients only to find to be closed down just because does not pass the CQC. Patients would lose their doctor. The doctors and the staff lose all respect because of their reports. NHS England should be keeping an eye on the practices.

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  • thank you Anonymous partner with Dr A,B,C&D,you made my day & gave me heart.Ours is next week & we're scared witless,like rabbits in headlights,simultaneously paralysed and frantic. Gp's are already intrinsically programmed for burnout-high achieving,highly conscientious,feeling responsible for everything & CQC on top is just too much.It feels like the cultural revolution,we have to confess our sins,beat ourselves up in public,beg forgiveness & promise to do better,against a background of rumours & horror stories as practices are taken over. Then the faces start disappearing from meetings....go for it GPC,fight our corner ,there has to be a better way of ensuring quality than this.

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  • high time that evil extortionist gang is challenged in court.
    Agree the task is too big for one practice or single LMC.

    Will Pulse please survey GPS for being prepared to refuse to pay
    that racketeering mob fees in mass.

    Speaking of cruelty, we waited 120 days for our report and it was as faceless and pointless as people who were writing it.

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  • If you take a JR you MUST take the right case. Over the years I have seen many cases where there are serious grievances but on deeper examination of the facts there is something(not necessarily directly concerning the current issues) which seriously damages the chances of success because of the adversarial nature of English law. Perhaps this is why it has taken GPC/GPDF so long?

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