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Independents' Day

CQC spent over £13m rolling out inspection regime

Exclusive The CQC spent £13.3m on rolling out its ‘Ofsted-style’ GP inspections last year, Pulse can reveal, as the regulator has come under pressure to scrap the scheme from the BMA and the RCGP.

The figure was revealed in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request as part of an investigation by Pulse looking into the true costs of CQC inspections, which also found that practices were having to devote up to hundreds of staff hours on preparing for the inspections.

The CQC’s new inspection and regulation regime for general practice was announced as part of Professor Steve Field’s appointment as chief inspector of general practice in August 2013 and was fully rolled out in October 2014.

And the Pulse investigation found that the cost of the rollout has so far been £13.3m - which was under the £16.5m originally budgeted.

The investigation has also discovered that CQC fees could soon be set to double.

GPs currently pay around £6m for the inspections, but the Government has said that regulatory activities will soon have to become self-funding. If the annual costs of the inspection regime do not increase, this means that GPs will be having to double their contribution to cover the whole costs.

Currently, GP practices with a single location pay between £616 and £948, while those with more than one location range from £1,341 to £16,759.

The inspections - which give practices ratings of ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘needs improvement’ and ‘inadequate’ - have faced a wave of criticism from the GP profession, with the GPC calling for it to be scrapped and the RCGP calling for an immediate halt in recent weeks.

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice at the CQC and a former chair of the RCGP, said about the college’s statement: ‘We are extremely disappointed that the Royal College of General Practitioners has called for an “emergency pause” to our inspections of general practices, which we carry out to make sure that people across England get safe, high-quality and compassionate primary care. The safety and quality of care of people who use these services continue to be our number one priority.

Readers' comments (9)

  • I trained as an inspector, having resigned from my practice due to burnout, I thought having a supportive GP inside the CQC might be helpful. The training was woefully inadequate, lots of powerpoint, with only very meagre training about KLOEs (we were told to look at the website for these) and only one judgement exercise. The GPs in my group, along with a non-GP inspector, could not agree on what was best practice. There was no model against which practices were to be judged. We were told, 'You will just know'. There was huge disparity in opinion within the training group. I didn't take one penny from them, even for travel costs for the training, and abandoned my naive plan. The CQC is not fit for purpose and their training of inspectors non-existent. I met other very competent GPs on the course who made the same decision as me. Bargepoles all round.

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  • Is anyone inspecting the CQC. It is currently led by individuals with serious conflicts of interests [ in terms of patient groups].

    If no one has suggested that the CQC be performance tested first then it becomes a travesty of justice to expect GPs to comply with their arbitrary yardsticks. As we recall, the CQC staff are poorly trained and probably could not recognise the words " patient safety" if it was plastered in bold letters.

    Dr Rita Pal

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  • We need a CQCQC to inspect the CQC and issue it with an immediate closedown notice for being unfit and unsafe.

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  • NICE could analyse the CQC and declare it too expensive for the number of lives saved or quality of lives improved - £13million for no lives saved, no lives improved, lots of lives made worse.

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  • a simple cost benefit analysis would and should close it down.

    But we should have transparency on the vested interests of its teams

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  • How on earth could it cost so much? In any event, having spent all that money (hopefully wisely on training, infrastructure, etc) costs should now plumment to a low level maintenance operation.

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  • Did the information received include a breakdown itemising the amount spent on various OTT advertising/promotion stands at events such as Pulse Live?

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  • People with such low levels of education and actual documented verified achievement are not fit for purpose Most of the CQC Indivisuals I have met are of such low intelligence they would not last doing any frontline job themselves . When they themselves are questioned their levels of stupidity and lack of knowledge are staggering

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  • Dear Anonymous GP partner who thinks CQC staff have not worked on the frontline, in fact the majority have, for many years prior to becoming a regulator. A regulator is a person whose job it is to ensure that the law is being met. I am sure you do not think the same of police officers, ie that they are stupid and lack intelligence. Please point the blame for the need to regulate GPs to Parliament as cross party political agreement was needed to enact the necessary laws. CQC are just doing their job, just like you.

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