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Independents' Day

The CQC must listen to our concerns about restarting GP inspections

Dr Kailash Chand OBE

Routine inspections of GP practices will soon recommence. In this global crisis, general practice is busier than ever, and sitting on the timebomb of an avalanche of non-Covid diseases that will be hitting in the not-so distant future.

Announcing a reintroduction of dysfunctional bureaucracy in general practice is another ill-thought continuation of shambolic management during the pandemic.

Ask any GP how much time and resources away from clinical work is wasted to meet the unrealistic expectations of the CQC inspectors. In the BMA’s recent survey, over half (55%) of respondents said they felt ‘less burdened’ by bureaucracy as a result of coronavirus measures, while 82% felt the reduced paperwork must be retained in the long term.

Lessons must be learnt, rather than the return of ‘business as usual’

Inspecting GP surgeries sounds good in the headline world of newspapers and soundbite public opinion, but serves no purpose in improving safety or quality of work. Matt Hancock and NHS England must learn lessons from the Covid-19 crisis, rather than returning to ‘business as usual’.

If the environment in which GPs were providing services was increasingly challenging, the post-pandemic one would be the straw to break the camel’s back. The remote consultation methods and workload pressures during the time of Covid-19 are leading to low morale and stress, causing many GPs to consider quitting and seeking early retirement.

I would urge NHS England to seriously consider the request from the BMA and Professor Clare Gerada’s letter to the chief inspector of the CQC, and abandon the idea for CQC inspections for at least two years.

Dr Kailash Chand OBE is a retired GP in Tameside

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Vinci Ho

    Would like to look at this from another angle :
    (1) While I fully appreciate ‘well known’ colleagues( on Pulse Power 50 list , for instance ) expressing disquiet ,throwing themselves into the limelight to challenge CQC’s intention to restart inspection of GP practices, I am slightly uncomfortable that a card of pleading for sympathy is being played here . CQC , like GMC , is a official regulatory body exercising power. Power is not necessarily authority which is supposed to be respected by those being governed . Furthermore , the fact that both agencies are funded by ourselves is nothing short of egregious. There is no such thing as social contract between them and us .
    Both of them have been serving for the government(s) to ensure that a scapegoat could be found whenever things went wrong in the ‘system’ . They have no means and show no intention to help troubled colleagues to get out of jail .
    There is a reason why I equate them to George Orwell’s ingenious creation of Ministry of Love in 1984.
    (2) Of course , we are mentally exhausted and burnt out by the plight of Covid 19 last 12 weeks . Some colleagues lost close one and some even their lives .
    But do not forget the morale was already very low right before this historic pandemic . In fact , the melancholy lies where one had to wait until such a disaster happened before our representatives woke up in this battlefield, pushing back our nefarious enemies . I am sorry if one thinks I am too critical and even cynical in here .
    (3) As I wrote yesterday , the fallacious ‘one size fits all’ ideology was reverberating in the ‘old model’ which had evidently failed during this last 12 weeks . Undoubtedly, regulatory bodies need to be more receptive and responsive to whistleblowers, taking heed of concerns seriously followed promptly by meticulous investigations but yet to uphold common law spirit of presumed innocence. Instead , what we saw was a prescriptive carpet ‘screening’ and tick-box exercise without insightful understanding of why certain some colleagues and their practices could not ‘score’ enough points on the sheet . Ultimately , we saw practices closing down one by one .
    (4)Have these regulatory bodies under the shadow of the government(s) shown us mercy and sympathy so far ? The answer is a resounding NO . So logically , what is the chance that CQC will want to change its mind right now ?
    Frozen ice deep down three feet is not down to one cold day . Remember our ex-CQC chief-GP senior colleague said he was so ashamed of being a GP? Remember the tragic predicament of Dr B-G under GMC ?
    (5)Our profession is over-regulated , as I strongly believe . Our right to challenge the system and demand an overhaul of these regulations , is only minimal . There is no way for us to bend knees begging for sympathy.
    Delay of inspection for longer periods is NOT because of we just need a break from the scrutiny and oppression .
    Rather this is the time for these notorious regulatory bodies to go under microscope and the ‘knife’ .
    A judgement must be made of how they will portray themselves in the future .

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  • Reading comments from Clare Gerada's article, Clare has the same anxieties. A restart means a 'relearn' also. Only 'concerns' should be inspected. We did initially ask for a years notice at the very least. Please see our original article that Pulse we kind enough to publish:
    http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/views/letters/pcns-proposals-on-re-establishing-gp-services-after-covid-19/20040992.article

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  • I can't see the point of this article. Ground already fully explored.

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