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CQC threatens criminal prosecution of practices who fail to register a manager

Exclusive The CQC is issuing threats of criminal prosecution or £4,000 fines to practices who fail to provide up-to-date details of their 'registered manager'.

A template letter, which has been circulated to LMCs to pass on to their practices, warns that the CQC 'have grounds to suspect you have committed a criminal offence' by 'failing to comply with the conditions of your registration'. 

These conditions include ensuring that regulated activities - including 'treatment of disease, disorder and injury' - is 'managed by an individual who is registered as a manager in respect of that activity'.

The BMA’s GP committee condemned the ‘extremely threatening’ letters and said it was regrettable that CQC had decided to send them to practices as a first notice.

Local GP leaders have warned that CQC is currently focussing its attention on the ‘Central’ England region but that practices in the rest of the country should take note and ensure their details are current and correct.

The CQC told Pulse that having a registered manager is a requirement for practice’s registration and was key to 'effective leadership'. 

It added that the tone of these letters was intended to make clear that failing to do so was an offence but practices were invited to explain the breach, and where it could be justified then no further action might occur.

In Essex the LMC circulated a template version of the letter, which is headed ‘IMPORTANT – CONCERNS CRIMINAL OFFENCE’ and warning that it has 'been sent to a number of practices in CQC’s central region.'

It begins: ‘We are writing to you as the registered provider as we have grounds to suspect you have committed a criminal offence. The offence is an offence of failing to comply with the conditions of your registration (Section 33 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008).

‘This offence can be dealt with by way of a fixed penalty notice (£4000 fine) or a prosecution (unlimited fine).’

Regarding the offence in the case of the template letter, it states: 'A condition of this registration was that you as the Registered Provider must ensure that the regulated activity, diagnostic and screening procedures, family planning, maternity and midwifery services, surgical procedures, treatment of disease, disorder and injury is managed by an individual who is registered as a manager in respect of that activity.'

Failing to respond means the case ‘will be referred to a decision-maker to decide whether to issue a fixed penalty notice or progress to a prosecution.’

Sandra Acott, a practice manager in Pitsea, Essex received the template from her LMC and she told Pulse she was 'very angry' that already stretched practices could receive such a letter.

She said: 'Having a registered manager in place is purely an administrative exercise. Having this up-to-date information on the CQC website (or not) will not make any difference at all to how GPs, nurses and practice staff look after their patients and is that not what our sole purpose is?’

The contracts and regulation lead for the GPC, Dr Robert Morley, said he didn’t know how many practices had been contacted by CQC but he told Pulse: ‘The extremely threatening tone and content of these letters is very regrettable, and also highly ironic in the context of the appalling performance hitherto of CQC’s registration processes. GPC has taken this up with CQC’.

Ruth Rankine, deputy chief inspector of general practice at the CQC said the letters 'are not a fine in themselves' and that where practices can show 'good reason for the breach it may go no further'.

She added: 'Having a registered manager is both a legal requirement for most providers and an important part of establishing effective leadership. Effective leadership is vital to patients being offered the good care that they deserve, and is something that we have seen in our inspections of general practice.

'When CQC has reason to believe that a provider is not meeting the conditions of their registration, such as having a registered manager, we contact them to get to the bottom of the issue and also outline the extent of our enforcement powers which, as with other breaches of regulatory requirements, can in severe cases include prosecution. Where we fail to get a satisfactory response, a formal letter will be issued.'

cqc rm crackdown

 

Readers' comments (28)

  • I know gps are not known for collective action but what would the cqc do if we ALL immediately de register our practice managers, anyone good at designing template letter for this?

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  • All put 'registered manager: Jeremy Hunt'?
    Probably wouldn't register with the bean counting eejits- at least they'd have a name to put on their precious website.
    There is no CQC in Scotland. Not that our politicians are perfect and nor are we swimming in decently funded resources.
    But there is not an active vandalistic and vindictive process with the aim of privatisation. This at least leaves some feeling of value at the end of a days work.
    But cancer spreads and I feel very angry for you all down there.

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  • Look at the address

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  • There's a cycle that used to go: clinical professionalism, conspiracy against public, outcry, consumerism, managerialism, alienation of clinical professions, recruitment problems, atonement by government, clinical professionalism.
    But now, the government is not in a mood for atonement. Professional alienation is acceptable, since they regard the health service as unaffordable anyway.

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  • The totally disproportionate size of the penalty and the fact that it is also a criminal matter speaks volumes about the utter incompetence, cluelessness and insensitivity of certain of those 'managers' (sic) who run the NHS.
    May I also remind people of the fact that if you are given a criminal record it will affect your GMC registration; your ability to work abroad; even your ability to emigrate, etc.

    The whole plan is total overkill, made worse because (1)the object of the exercise isn't really what general practice is directly about (2) those 'managers' in the NHS 'organising' (sic) this need to put their own house in order first.

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  • This for me epitomises everything that has gone wrong with healthcare policy in the UK.

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  • There are no words to express how I feel about this. Word 's fail me.

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  • Peter Swinyard

    ....and the beatings will continue....
    What planet are these lunatics on? They are the most inefficient lot when you try to get them to react to one of their interminable forms to deregister - as mentioned above. They insist on their own CRB check (or DBS or whatever) which requires ID to be confirmed at a Crown Post Office - which for Swindon doctors means a drive of at least 30 miles round trip as there is none in Swindon. Then they have the cheek to charge about £65 for it. Do they really need to check the ID of someone who has been on the performers list and its predecessors for 30 years???
    And, if their work is so vital, why have the Scottish and Welsh governments been so negligent as not to have their own versions of this monolithic quango?
    It is high time that the BMA had the guts to stand up to Dr Evil and his henchmen.

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