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Analysis: The CQC is the regulatory body, not the contracting body

The CQC has no business in dictating when a practice’s opening hours should be, says Dr Brian Balmer

The problem with inspecting practices on whether their opening times match patients’ expectation is that there’s only so much you can squeeze from each worker even if they are GP.

I once saw a patient survey which asked ‘Would you like to see your doctor in the early morning, late evening, on Saturdays?’ I thought of my doctor, who as an overworked single-handed practitioner, would be exhausted.

If the CQC are reasonable in how much work they expect GPs to do, then fine. But if this is just another ploy by health secretary Jeremy Hunt to say GPs should work all hours of the day and night, then forget it.

The CQC are a regulatory body, not the contracting body. Is opening hours any of its business? Is it their role to police whether people take a lunchbreak, or leave at half seven? I would have thought NHS England already carry out that role and several people trying to do the same job always ends with tears.

The CQC haven’t manage to gain the profession’s respect doing what they’re supposed to be doing: inspecting. It’s a very confident organisation that tries to expand into other roles before it’s succeeded in its core responsibility.

Pretending to know what patients want is a very dangerous business. I’d like to see exactly how a CQC inspector would claim to know what patients want in terms of opening hours and then measure whether practices are meeting them.

Practices have a contractual obligation to provide core essential services between 8:30 and 18:00. If a practice is filling in its contractual obligations, then they should tell the CQC to get lost.

Dr Brian Balmer is medical secretary at North and South Essex LMCs

Readers' comments (4)

  • THE CQC ARE SIMPLY GOVERNMENT PUPPETS-HERE TO JOIN IN THE BULLYING AND VICTIMISING CAMPAIGN-ALONG WITH THE DAILY MAIL AND OTHER "REGULATORS". IF SOMEONE CONSTANTLY THREATENS YOU TO "PULL THE TRIGGER" POLITICALLY, EVENTUALLY THE ANSWER BECOMES...GO ON THEN JUST DO IT RATHER THAN KEEP THREATENING.

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  • I know what you’re thinking: "Can we get the GPs to stretch themselves to 11pm?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this commissioning excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being that general practice is barely coping with present demand and closing more surgeries is likely to have catastrophic consequences for A&E, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?

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  • Aren't core hours 08.00-18.30, rather than 08.30-18.00?

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  • Sudheer Surapaneni

    Well, the GP bashing, threats and more regulation through beaurocrats by politicians is not new. But what is new is that the supposedly 'liberal' elements in the Government do not care while the tyrannical elements are having the same field day as the previous government which brought hopes of better care through stricter regulation.
    Don't we doctors deserve to be treated like this?
    We have unions which do not respect us.
    We have manager-doctors who are actively on the 'other side'
    Have the best brains who want to keep mum and possibly help few words against us.

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