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Health secretary dismisses pleas to halt CQC inspections

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has dismissed calls from the RCGP to impose an emergency pause on CQC inspections, warning that it would be ‘big mistake’ to slow down the ‘improvement of practices that aren’t providing high standards of care’.

In a response to the RCGP’s open letter sent to Mr Hunt last week - which pleaded for CQC inspections to be halted to relieve pressure on ‘crisis-hit’ practices and avoid risks to patient safety - the health secretary has hit back, adding that he ‘makes no apology for giving the public clear information on the quality of care at their surgery.’

In the letter to Mr Hunt, RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said that the burdens being placed on GPs by the CQC inspection regime, along with pressures to provide seven-day access for routine care, are ‘undermining’ efforts to turn around the current crisis in general practice.

The move by the RCGP last week followed calls from the BMA for the CQC to be de-commissioned, while GPC chair Dr Channd Nagpaul recently told delegates at the LMCs conference that the regulator’s Ofsted-style ratings for practices should be abolished.

But despite this, Mr Hunt has insisted that any halt in inspections would be a ‘big mistake.’

Mr Hunt said: ‘We make absolutely no apology for giving the public clear information for the first time on the quality of their local GP services, or for ensuring that hardworking families can access a GP 7 days a week.

‘To halt inspections now would be a big mistake, and slow down the process of improvement for those surgeries which aren’t giving the public the high standards of care they deserve.’

The CQC’s chief inspector for general practice, Professor Steve Field, also rejected the RCGP’s plea, adding that an inspection by the regulator ‘should not be a burden for a well-managed practice’.

However, a Pulse investigation recently revealed that nearly half of GPs say their practices are being forced to spend more than 20 staff hours preparing for a CQC inspection, with many spending hundreds of hours.

Readers' comments (16)

  • Dear BMA and RCGP you are serving less and less of a purpose.

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  • Yes, I like to continue hunting.

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  • We really are banging our heads against a brick wall.

    He's obsessed with "mickey mouse metrics".

    We cannot run a service even 5 days a week let alone 7 days with the lack of resources, funding and demands. I'm working at a 5,000 patient list practice that has no permanent GP for over a year. Runs off locums, some days no GP at all. THAT'S DURING THE WEEK.

    The CQC is "icing on the cake", there is some very "basic cake" delivery of clinical services for patients required before spending days hoop jumping for the CQC.

    This man doesn't get it....

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  • Vinci Ho

    As I said before , the relationship between GPs and the government (hence,JH and DC) is at historically low.
    If the health secretary chooses to make this relationship even worse , he is preparing himself to become a 'sinner of history' and must bear all the consequences.

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  • seriously rcgp and bma may be weak,but they are trying.

    either you guys get behind them ( and change them particularly RCGP) or you'll fade away.

    the RCGP and BMA can at least have some access to the powers that be.

    NHSE is moving full steam ahead with 7 day working/salaried GP service. quality will be measured in a million ways except one - would you be happy for your mum/dad/child to have this...test!

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  • The Plan : Destroy the partnership model . Bring in salaried work units.

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  • Bring in Human Synthetics modelled on Agent Hunt.

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  • I don't think they want to destroy the partner ship model - they recognize its cheap. a lot of the hate of partnerships is ideological. both the right and left hate doctors for different reasons!

    but they think they can do the same for cheaper - which has not been possible

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  • I dismissed Jeremy hunt when I resigned my partnership and emigrated abroad!!

    and I will also dismiss his calls for me to return!

    Now I actually realize what its like to work with autonomy, flexibility and as I see fit. I am able to provide good standards of care without the millstone of this man and his cronies around my neck;

    I feel sorry for my former colleagues in the UK. you've made yourselves irrelevant, its time to take your profession back from these people

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  • Yet again, Hunt and the point are widely spaced

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