This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

A faulty production line

Was your CQC inspection a good experience?

Two GPs relate their experiences


Dr Matthew Piccaver

Dr Matthew Piccaver

It was good on the whole, although we started off somewhat fearful. We came in at a weekend and went through everything to ensure compliance.

On the day, I talked at the poor inspector incessantly for hours – he looked exhausted. The pharmacy inspector was so impressed with what our pharmacist had done, he left early.

We employed a locum to see patients for the day to free us up. A stream of patients came in, all with positive things to say.

We received a ‘good’ rating. We treated the inspectors with kindness and courtesy, were open to their feedback, and had everything they needed to hand well in advance.

It gave us a good reason to spring clean and introduce a lot of positive changes. Our staff got a morale boost.

Dr Matthew Piccaver is a GP in Sudbury, Suffolk



Dr Dominique Thompson

Dr Dominique Thompson

Source: Dr Dominique Thompson

Dr Dominique Thompson

We prepared for the inspection and were confident our presentation would go down well but we were faced with inspectors who just did not understand what they were dealing with.

We listed all our unique achievements, like an eating disorder service, a day bed unit for students and a highly successful meningitis campaign. Despite this the inspectors implied we would only get a rating of ‘requires improvement’ partly because we hadn’t mentioned alcohol – which we do treat as part of routine care. I was speechless. It was the worst day of my career.

I had to come in on my day off and spend eight hours typing out an 11-page document challenging them. In the end, the only criticism they had was that we didn’t have photocopies of all the locums’ IDs – but patients aren’t put in danger because we don’t have a photocopy of a document. The inspections are completely bureaucratic.

I received an apology letter in the end. The inspection was in March, it wasn’t sorted until early August; I didn’t sleep properly for three months after it. It cost hours and hours of time that I could have spent on patient care.

Dr Dominique Thompson is a GP at a university practice in Bristol



Rate this article  (5 average user rating)

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Readers' comments (5)

  • We had no recruitment in the poorest area of England.
    Cqc put the boot in with amazing viciousness

    And all the partners left, and I don't work insane hours for the health of the patients now.

    This is a parallel bullshit universe. Steve you obviously don't give a monkeys about the patients. If you want to see your handiwork research my area

    Policies of not see patients, unfortunately in my area few doctors now do too

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I had a similar experience to Dominique - the inspectors did not understand how good our areas of excellence were, and quite what a difference we were making in two areas in particular. We were also criticised for not having kept photocopies of photo ID for all staff - in spite of having kept proof we had seen passports (and recorded passport numbers). This was also in spite of the previous CQC inspection 3 years previously having told us specifically that we did nOT need to keep photocopies of the photo id, just proof that we had seen it!
    Many hours of work involved in getting all the information, and at very short notice asking for more info, and even after the inspection asking for yet more info, meant that it took two weeks before and another two afterwards of information gathering, all whilst in the midst of 2 nurses off sick and a major extension project going on.
    We have a fantastic team, who all rallied round to help prepare for it, and that process was actually quite nice, but the end report felt like a kick in the teeth, and had facial inaccuracies (which to be fair they did correct without any problems, and which included the bit about keeping photo ID)
    I agree though that it was an enormous waste of time and effort which would have been very much better spent on patient care.
    And blimey, if Dominique's practice isn't outstanding then what the hell does an outstanding practice look like? Do they expect you to be taking people on holidays to the moon, or what?!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Ha ha, funny autocorrect there. It had FACTUAL inaccuracies, rather than facial ones. Although rather appropriate given it was about the photo ID!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What ho. Personally, I understand that "Outstanding" in all non-contractural stuff. Like having a homeless shelter or getting people free bikes or something. I don't have time or energy for those shennanigans, and I'm the bloke with the horrible picture up the top. Regards, Matt.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • CQC gets a BOA rating from me

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say