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CQC considering phone calls instead of inspections for practices of concern

The CQC might just give GP practices a phone call if they have concerns in the future, rather than sending out inspectors, the deputy inspector of general practice has said.

Ruth Rankine said this would form part of the CQC's new approach from October next year, by which time all GP practices will have already been inspected and rated once.

She said CQC ‘feels comfortable’ moving to this new approach, because a vast majority of GP practices were rated good or outstanding in this first round of inspections, and CQC ‘can already see improvements are being made’ in those requiring improvement.

But she said this would be based on GP practices and CQC having a 'collaborative' relationship, and CQC collating and monitoring a wider range of 'intelligence' on practices that could flag up potential problems.

She told the Westminster Health Forum conference yesterday that this would done via a new programme called 'GP Insight', which will be 'a collation of the qualitative and quantitative information that we have around providers that will tell us on an ongoing basis about the quality of care being delivered'.

CQC will be monitoring that data 'on an ongoing basis, and we will be looking for any changes in those indicators that might signal that we might need to do something, or not', she said.

But that whereas in the current system, 'if we were worried about something we would inspect [as] our first course of action', in the new system the CQC may take a more laid-back approach.

Ms Rankine said: 'Actually our first course of action in the future might be a phone call to the practice, to understand what has happened, so that we are able to have some context to the change, and then from there we decide whether or not we need to take further action.

'It is part of a more collaborative approach, working with providers to understand what is happening and where they may need support.’

She also said that 'as with any organisation in the public sector we have a decreasing budget so we need to think differently about how we do things and what we focus on'.

But she added: 'What will stay the same is we will still be a regulator and inspections will remain central to our assessment of quality.'

The CQC will launch a two-month consultation on GP Insight and what data will be collected on practices in March. The consultation will also focus on the CQC's plans to amend GP registration to fit with new care models such as multispeciality community providers (MCPs) and federations.

Other issues raised by the deputy inspector included reducing the burden of registration for practices, with Ms Rankine saying this would become a 'more agile' process, the 'depth and length' of which would depend on the level of risk associated with the provider.

Ms Rankine also said that the work pledged in the GP Forward View earlier this year to reduce the burden of regulation on GP practices had now begun, with a regulatory programme board formed with representatives also including GMC, CCGs, NHS England and HEE.

The news comes as the CQC is set to streamline its organisation by shedding 400 staff positions by 2020, but also as GP practices' CQC fees are due to rise by more than three-quarters next year.

It also comes after the furore over the CQC's previous version of so-called 'intelligent monitoring' data in 2014, which was published in full and claimed that a fifth of practices were 'high risk' despite not having their inspection yet.

Readers' comments (13)

  • Expensive phone call!

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  • The game of chess goes on..

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  • why doesnt someone just put the NHS out of its misery? Surely its time for some Just In Case meds.

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  • The CQC is a truly monstrous self serving quango that is out of control

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  • We're the boys from the CQC,
    Come to lynch the smug GP,
    The papers say you've got it made,
    You're underworked and overpaid,
    We'll bring you down a peg or two,
    And prove you haven't got a clue.
    With clipboards raised and noses long,
    We'll tell you what's right and wrong,
    A protocol for this, a protocol for that,
    Have you safety checked your Welcome Mat?
    We're petty, trivial, callous, unfair,
    Recruitment crisis? We don't care.
    We're not interested in your clinical skills,
    Just when did you do your fire drills?
    We'll end the torture at our leisure,
    Then charge you thousands for the pleasure.
    We'll shame you on our own website,
    And tell the world you're a load of s***e.
    To think your leaders let this happen!
    You might weep, we can't stop laughin'.

    Shake you, break you,
    Slate you , hate you,
    Test you, stress you,
    Slam you, damn you,
    Fail you, jail you,
    Kill you, bill you,
    Put you down,
    Shut you down,
    Want to complain?
    Let us explain,
    You have no power
    You useless shower,
    Can't you see???
    We're the CQC.

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  • I have spent my fair share of time on the phone with various CQC inspectors and I actually welcome this approach as there is not much in terms of physical evidence that they need to see in cases of specific issues.

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  • 'a more agile process' !!? how sweet - there's a new one to play with!
    what the heck are they using so much finding for..well the cold weather is coming on best keep snug and call from a nice warm office.they are a disgrace.

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  • Loved the carol.
    That was the only positive thing that the CQC have ever inspired!

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  • Im guessing Prof Field's own practice will the first to benefit from this "super lite CQC" ?

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  • It sounds like they will be going over to phone calls. It is much cheaper for them and they will make a stupendously massive enormous profit from this.
    While Gps may much prefer to have phone calls, than visitations, if this is to be the new way it works, then it simply does not justify the fees paid.
    It is just out and out blackmail. Like an extra GP tax.

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