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Independents' Day

CQC 'setting practices up for failure' claims GPC member after finding 41 errors in draft inspection report

Exclusive A GPC member has launched a major broadside against the CQC’s new inspections regime, claiming that inspections are ‘chaotic’ and ‘not fit for purpose’.

Just days before the CQC’s new inspections regime is due to be officially launched, Dr Paul Cundy, a long-standing member of the GPC and chair of its IT committee, accused the the CQC of not following its own procedures and that practices were ‘set up to fail’.

In an open letter to the CQC’s senior national GP advisor, Professor Nigel Sparrow and chief inspector of general practice, Professor Steve Field, Dr Cundy said he had found 41 errors in the report prepared on his practice.

He said that after a shadow inspection on his practice earlier this year, he was convinced the CQC’s inspection regime misrepresents ‘recommendations as requirements’ and is ‘not acting in accordance with CQC guidelines’.

The letter added: ‘If practices cannot trust CQC inspectors to stick to their own rules and if recommendations are being dressed up as requirements then that raises significant questions about the confidence the profession can have in CQC.’

The inspection of the practice took place on 14 May and Dr Cundy claimed that it was confusing and contradictory, with his practice sent a 72-page report from their CCG - detailing several areas where they were ‘outliers’ - just 13 minutes before CQC inspection staff arrived.

He added that that in several places the wording of the draft report prepared on his practice was ‘misleading’ and that it was ‘partial and incomplete’.

Specific errors in the report include:

  • The title of the report had the name of the surgery written incorrectly.
  • The report says the practice did not have a business continuity plan, when Dr Cundy told inspectors that told them that they did, but was not able to locate this at the time of the inspection.
  • The report claims staff had not completed ‘appropriate child protection training’, when inspectors were told that the person in question had training, but the practice was unable to supply specific dates. Formal training is also not a requirement for practices.
  • The report states the practice did not have an ‘effective recruitment process to ensure that all staff were of suitable character’, when the only failing was that a verbal rather than a written reference was taken during the recruitment of one particular member of staff. All the other 24 members of staff had complete recruitment records.

The intervention from such a senior GPC member is embarassing as the CQC is set to roll out its new inspection regime following the pilots - which Dr Cunday’s practice was involved in - this week. The new regime will see practices displaying ‘Ofsted-style’ ratings in their waiting rooms and their website.

The CQC told Pulse that providers are ‘given the opportunity to raise any issue’ that they have with draft reports.

But Dr Cundy told Pulse: ‘From what I have seen Professor Field’s clipboard army is not fit for purpose. How dare CQC judge anyone when they can’t get their own house in order. 41 errors, not counting the dreadful grammar and typos,  in a 31 page report is pretty good going. From what I’ve seen its CQC that should be in special measures.’

A spokesperson for the CQC said: ‘CQC does not comment on draft reports. The report from this inspection will be published on our website in due course.

‘CQC has a comprehensive quality assurance process for reports, and a formal factual accuracy process in which providers are given the opportunity to raise any issues they may have with their inspection report at draft stage. This is considered by CQC before a final report is published. Where a provider disagrees with the evidence presented and/or the judgements made, they are therefore able to do so.

‘CQC is always keen to hear comments and suggestions about our work. CQC investigates every complaint it receives and uses feedback from complaints to ensure inspections and reports are delivered to the highest standards. Providers have an opportunity to raise concerns about the factual accuracy of inspection reports as part of our process, prior to any final inspection report being issued. All comments are reviewed and where applicable, reports are amended accordingly.’


Related images

  • Dr Paul Cundy c.Andy Lane - online

Readers' comments (18)

  • Well done for standing up to CQC. Can we expect to see GPC supporting you wholeheartedly on this issue, before CQC steamrollers practices into the ground?

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  • I agree entirely. We are having yet another CQC inspection today (our 3rd) over a lot of nitpicking and petty points which are completely irrelevant too ur quality of care and the very high standards we set ourselves for our patients.

    Our PM and our nurses have spent hours running around after unnecessary paperwork and protocols about our cleaning schedule (we have to have a daily cleaning diary which is an insult to our excellent cleaners) and have missed spending time looking after patients.

    We have an old building which is not fit for purpose and maybe the DOH could spend money on changing that before CQC inspections which achieve nothing.

    It is a threatening and stressful exercise which has done nothing to improve our practice (other than we have a nice cleaning book now!!!!)

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  • Do the CQC have an appeals process if you feel you have been treated unfairly in the inspection.I suspect not.

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  • the big question is will the CQC improve health outcomes? The answer is NO. General practice is very much practitioner based as the level of medicine is dished out by the practitioner. As the CQC cannot get inside the mind of the practitioner, they will never really know what the quality is. Also, appraising the practitioner is down to the appraisal system. Not offering enough apointments, etc, is a contractual issue, so down to NHS England. So, what is the CQC there for in general practice when there are other bodies already responsible for its job. In essence we are being regulated in triplicate. What utter, uttter, nonsense!

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  • I agree with all the above. who will police the police? can we have our feedback printed on the front of the CQC web page, especially the most recent example above? Do they care about their feedback (we know they don't give a monkeys) or does this only apply to the practices they bully? what a shambles. well done NHS england the the Health care acts of the recent past. All I hear are the planes flying away with more and more of our GP's, Australia, New Zealand and Canada's gain thanks to the CQC incompetance and NHS in general.

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  • If a sufficient number GP practices refuse to allow CQC into their premises there is absolutely nothing that Steve Field or Jeremy Hunt can do about it. CQC should only be called in when concern has been expressed about a practce by patients, by the Area Team or by the CCG. It is about time that GPs stopped bleating and took action.

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  • The most worrying thing here is the lack accountability of the CQC if they behave unfairly. Since this is fairly obviously a government system set up to target practices for sale to the private sector at a heavy discount, it seems that GPs have only several options remaining: 1) Produce an ever escalating audit trail to prove 'compliance' at the expense of patient care, 2) band together and sue the CQC as a class action suit if they are not following their own guidance and 3) leave the NHS.

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  • Bob Hodges

    'Recommendations' from CQC are like getting your Granny egg sucking lessions from a Chicken.

    Chicken's don't have lips.

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  • I agree with all of these sentiments however the CQC might reasonably expect to see the training for safeguarding and to be assured that there is a continuity plan that could have been expected - is this not giving the CQC a free hit?

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  • Its interesting, my British Aunt went to a private health spa for rehab after a stroke and the spa tried to get CQC registration because they wanted it for commercial reasons. they were told they cannot get it because they fall outside the scope of CQC!

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