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CQC threatens criminal prosecution of practices who fail to register a manager

Exclusive The CQC is issuing threats of criminal prosecution or £4,000 fines to practices who fail to provide up-to-date details of their 'registered manager'.

A template letter, which has been circulated to LMCs to pass on to their practices, warns that the CQC 'have grounds to suspect you have committed a criminal offence' by 'failing to comply with the conditions of your registration'. 

These conditions include ensuring that regulated activities - including 'treatment of disease, disorder and injury' - is 'managed by an individual who is registered as a manager in respect of that activity'.

The BMA’s GP committee condemned the ‘extremely threatening’ letters and said it was regrettable that CQC had decided to send them to practices as a first notice.

Local GP leaders have warned that CQC is currently focussing its attention on the ‘Central’ England region but that practices in the rest of the country should take note and ensure their details are current and correct.

The CQC told Pulse that having a registered manager is a requirement for practice’s registration and was key to 'effective leadership'. 

It added that the tone of these letters was intended to make clear that failing to do so was an offence but practices were invited to explain the breach, and where it could be justified then no further action might occur.

In Essex the LMC circulated a template version of the letter, which is headed ‘IMPORTANT – CONCERNS CRIMINAL OFFENCE’ and warning that it has 'been sent to a number of practices in CQC’s central region.'

It begins: ‘We are writing to you as the registered provider as we have grounds to suspect you have committed a criminal offence. The offence is an offence of failing to comply with the conditions of your registration (Section 33 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008).

‘This offence can be dealt with by way of a fixed penalty notice (£4000 fine) or a prosecution (unlimited fine).’

Regarding the offence in the case of the template letter, it states: 'A condition of this registration was that you as the Registered Provider must ensure that the regulated activity, diagnostic and screening procedures, family planning, maternity and midwifery services, surgical procedures, treatment of disease, disorder and injury is managed by an individual who is registered as a manager in respect of that activity.'

Failing to respond means the case ‘will be referred to a decision-maker to decide whether to issue a fixed penalty notice or progress to a prosecution.’

Sandra Acott, a practice manager in Pitsea, Essex received the template from her LMC and she told Pulse she was 'very angry' that already stretched practices could receive such a letter.

She said: 'Having a registered manager in place is purely an administrative exercise. Having this up-to-date information on the CQC website (or not) will not make any difference at all to how GPs, nurses and practice staff look after their patients and is that not what our sole purpose is?’

The contracts and regulation lead for the GPC, Dr Robert Morley, said he didn’t know how many practices had been contacted by CQC but he told Pulse: ‘The extremely threatening tone and content of these letters is very regrettable, and also highly ironic in the context of the appalling performance hitherto of CQC’s registration processes. GPC has taken this up with CQC’.

Ruth Rankine, deputy chief inspector of general practice at the CQC said the letters 'are not a fine in themselves' and that where practices can show 'good reason for the breach it may go no further'.

She added: 'Having a registered manager is both a legal requirement for most providers and an important part of establishing effective leadership. Effective leadership is vital to patients being offered the good care that they deserve, and is something that we have seen in our inspections of general practice.

'When CQC has reason to believe that a provider is not meeting the conditions of their registration, such as having a registered manager, we contact them to get to the bottom of the issue and also outline the extent of our enforcement powers which, as with other breaches of regulatory requirements, can in severe cases include prosecution. Where we fail to get a satisfactory response, a formal letter will be issued.'

cqc rm crackdown

 

Readers' comments (28)

  • The CQC job creation scheme rumbles on.

    One group I'm glad I never have to deal with

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  • Alright BMA. Its time to take Field and the rest of his useless and contemptible parasites out.

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  • The wording of the letter is very revealing. How long before the CQC start incentivising practices to report their neighbours, start having access to email accounts, wearing a smart black and silver branded uniform?Effective leadership is vital - we say this and therefore it is true and we find it to be so.

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  • Anonymous Locum GP

    the role of the CQC is to protect patients and ensure quality - our feelings are immatarial.

    the letter will play well with the public who want to keep 'greedy' GPs in line.

    the BMA have indicated they will take action directed by it's members BUT
    unfortunately many GPs support the CQC role so don't expect any action on this.

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  • Can I take them to court for not registering me in time?

    No, thought not.

    I wonder what legal standing I'd have if someone by their action (or incompetent inaction) forces me to commit a 'CRIMINAL OFFENCE'.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Ha ha ha
    What do you expect from Ministry of Love?
    Confrontational , belligerent and politically correct .
    Common sense is well defeated.
    In a politically sensitive time like this , taking a stance and attitude like this is sheer stupidity.......

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  • I left on 6th july last year.

    multiple multiple letters and forms later they took me off as registered manager in mid November.

    the only answer is to leave, and let steve field and his chums run the service.

    and guess what. theres a recruitment crisis so I can charge more for my services as I wind down to very early retirement bcause the area has no doctors at all (funny that)
    CQC good for patients? would be hilarious if it wasn't all so vicious...

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  • CQC are getting completely out of control.

    It is also massively hypocritical when it takes 18 months (my personal experience) to get the name of the registered manager changed due to CQCs own internal organisational incompetence. It should take 10 mins in their website.

    Sort yourselves out first, CQC. And get a sense of perspective of where you actually stand in the system: a relatively unimportant quango that consumes huge sums of money that would be better spent elsewhere, generates an enormous and very stressful extra workload for already hard pressed practice teams, and yet delivers very little actual positive change.

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  • This is disgraceful. It's taken over 2 years for my own practice to be registered after a merger due to conflicting advice and incompetence of CQC. Some partners ended up having to do DBA checks 3 times. CQC really is not for purpose and be scrapped. They have had long enough to get their act together.

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  • when I retired , my practice informed cqc of changes. I still received letters . they did apologised TO ME. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO CQC IF I DID NOT INFORM THEM.

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