‘This is a slur against a hard-working practice’
Dr Christopher North explains how he was blindsided by the CQC
We are a large training practice. We passed our most recent CQC inspection in February this year with no complaints. The report is available on the CQC’s website.
We also provided all the evidence that is required for the deanery training inspection, which is unbelievably extensive and probably more complicated in manyrespects than a CQC inspection because it is highly focused on clinical performance.
We passed that and the report said we provided excellent training, had good communication between the trainers and were a very well-run practice with a supportive learning environment. Our senior trainer was said to be ‘outstanding’.
We have had no concerns expressed to us by our CCG, with which we have a very close relationship.
Despite all this we have been publicly named by the CQC as presenting the highest level of risk for providing poor care, based on skewed responses from a tiny number of patients to an Ipsos MORI survey with a 40% response rate.
Unverified and unbalanced:
My major concern about this process is that it is unverified and unbalanced. They are taking information, putting it into an unbalanced and unverified rating process and drawing a conclusion.
I have no problem with the process of banding itself. I agree that the CQC has to try to prioritise its work somehow. But publishing it, in the way that they have, using words like ‘risk’, and ‘elevated risk’, has meant that people have interpreted it in a bizarre way.
I am very happy with the whole process of CQC inspections – they can inspect us as many times as they want. But we now have this slur put against
a hard-working practice. It reflects on my staff, my colleagues, and it is almost impossible to remove that slur without another inspection.
It is all very well to base inspections on this, but who gave them permission to put red flags against our NHS Choices information? What is that all about? NHS Choices is flawed anyway, but that is a disgrace.
This is way beyond what they should have done, beyond transparency. This is bullying, of people who can’t fight back.
Dr Christopher North is a GP at the Marlow Medical Group in Marlow, Buckinghamshire