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The CQC has failed its IQ test again

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The CQC must regret calling its data-gathering exercise in primary care ‘Intelligent Monitoring’. The presentation of the data failed its initial IQ test so badly that it had to be withdrawn, and the regulator was forced to issue an apology.

The data might have disappeared from the regulator’s website, but it has not gone away. The CQC has had months to explore how to do its job better, ready for a relaunch at the end of the summer.

‘Don’t mess up this time’ must have been the mantra at its HQ: ‘make it water-tight’, ‘make it intelligent’.

And so the moment comes: the report arrives for our practice, intelligently emailed in advance for us to check it over, to iron out any mistakes. It has been compiled with the ‘latest available data’.

Only it isn’t the latest available data. None of the figures in our practice report are less than six months old, and 19 out of 33 indicators are based on figures from March 2013 to March 2014, or earlier.

These are the QOF figures from the year before last: exactly the same as in the ones used in the reports published nearly a year ago.

So any patient who looks at their practice report and compares it with the previous data will wonder what their practice has been doing.

“They’re as bad as ever!” They will say to themselves. “Their figures haven’t improved at all!”

It’s like declaring Chelsea to be Premiership also-rans because they didn’t win the league in 2014, pretending that the 2015 results aren’t yet available, or judging a school on how its pupils performed at GCSE last year, when this year’s results have just been published.

If the CQC really think this year’s QOF results aren’t yet available they could have asked us. We know ours and we’d have passed them on.

Monitoring? Well only if you count following a trail that’s nearly 18 months old.

Intelligent? Definitely not.

Enough to cause an outcry leading to another reluctant apology? I certainly hope so.

Dr Martin Brunet is a GP in Guildford. You can tweet him @DocMartin68

A CQC spokesperson told Pulse that Dr Brunet’s practice inspection report included the latest available QOF data.

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Readers' comments (4)

  • The CQC is not fit for purpose.

    It causes patient harm, too much precious practice time is being diverted to these issues.

    Ultimately patients lose out ( there isn't much gain from having all the tick boxes checked)!

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  • But CQC do ask practices for their up to date QOF data during the 2 weeks before inspection, why don't you check with a practice that's just inspected? Plus the data only used to guide the questions the inspector will it forms no part of the judgement they make!

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  • Dear All
    It gets worse. They sent us the same pre publication report for us to comment on. We commented and gave a clear detailed explanation of our "outlier" stats (1) ibuprofen vs other NSAIDs; we don't prescribe Ibuprofen ergo any comparison will be adverse, 2) our COPD is 1/3 national average 0.5% vs 1.6% because our smoking prevalence is 1/3rd national average 6% vs 21% etc..
    We sent it in.
    They acknowledged.
    Are they going to change their report?

    The only thing these people are fit for is inspecting carpets and curtains. I suggest they be renamed the Carpet Quality Commission.

    Paul C

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  • That the Stasi are incompetent misses the point; the very existence of the organisation is the problem.

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