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Regulator attacks PCTs over balanced scorecards

By Nigel Praities

The chief executive of the Care Quality Commission has suggested balanced scorecards should be scrapped to avoid duplicating NHS bureaucracy - after admitting it was the 'first time' she had heard of the controversial schemes.

Speaking at a conference for GPs in London, Cynthia Bower said while it was 'very enthusiastic' of PCTs to develop scorecards, she was worried about the potential for duplication

‘We are trying to develop joint working as we should only be doing it once,' she said at the Quality in Modern General Practice meeting at BMA House in London. 'We need to be clear who is responsible for what - and we should not all be checking up on quality standards in primary care.'

Ms Bower said she would be ‘picking the issue up' when she took over regulation of GP practices in 2011.

The CQC chief also provided a much-needed boost to the RCGP's plans for practice accreditation, by saying it was her preferred way of regulating the profession.

Professor Nigel Sparrow, chair of the RCGP professional development board, admitted last month that the plans were at risk of being buried in other Government initiatives to assess practices, such as balanced scorecards.

Ms Bower said she did not want to develop regulation ‘in a parallel universe' and that she fully backed practice accreditation.

‘We would prefer to work with the profession in this way. Accreditation is a really simple answer for the profession itself to ensure compliance with standards.'

‘Change should come within professions and it is our job to support this and tackle bad quality practice when we see it,' she said.

Balanced scorecards are just one of a number of new ways practices will be assessed Balanced scorecards are just one of a number of new ways practices will be assessed Interview: Dr John Canning on the CQC and practice accreditation

Dr John Canning, chair of the GPC's Contracts and Performance Subcommittee, gives his response to Cynthia Bower's comments and talks about the future of practice accreditation.

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