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New look CQC inspections will be 'stressful and expensive'

The new CQC inspections will be time-consuming, stressful and expensive for GPs, the GPC’s lead on contracts and regulations warned delegates at the Pulse Live conference in London today.

Dr Robert Morley, executive secretary of the Birmingham LMC and GPC member, said the new ‘regime’ would be even more ‘rigorous’ than the previous inspection process, which was replaced this month.

He also stressed that problems with the new ‘Ofsted-style’ ratings system - which lets practices be classified as outstanding, good, needs improvement, or inadequate - could have a ‘negative effect’ on GP morale.

Professor Steve Field, the chief inspector of primary care, introduced the new regime this month, which is in pilot stage until October.

Key changes he introduced include a GP on all inspection teams, and sending letters to patients in the practice area notifying them of the inspection’s outcome.

But Dr Morley warned that there was a concern that practices will face problems when the regime is up and running.

He explained the GPC had intended for it to be ‘non-bureaucratic’ and ‘non-costly’ but that the changes to the registration process – which had already caused GPs problems – were ‘worrying’.

Dr Morley said: ‘We’re now in a new era starting this month. What’s clear is that everything is going to be more rigorous.’

‘The registration process is going to be more rigorous including something called the “fit and proper persons test”, which basically means whoever’s running the practice, the partners in effect, need to show they’re fit and proper people to be providing the service. This, to me is worrying.’

Dr Morley added the four ratings leave a ‘gulf’ between a ‘good’ practice and a practice which ‘requires improvement’ which he was concerned would leave lots of practices in the latter category.

He said: ‘Now we know that the idea of this is to improve the standard of care if it’s going to have a negative effect on practices, if it’s going to reduce morale, and lead to [more negative] stories in the press […]I think it’s going to have an overall negative effect on the morale of the profession, and perhaps on the future of those practices.’

CQC chief executive David Behan has previously said: ‘Over the past six months we set out proposals for different types of care services and we have been testing our new style inspections in hospitals, mental health and community health services and will be testing them in adult social care services and GP practices from this month.’

‘The changes we are making are vital to ensuring that we are able to make sure that health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high quality care and encourage care services to improve. Throughout these changes, we will always be on the side of people who use services and it is important to us that we hear what people think of our plans.’

Readers' comments (6)

  • John Glasspool

    I guess bad news sells?

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  • Dr Mustapha Tahir

    Properly trained Inspectors should be CQC priorities to achieve its aims and objectives.

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  • Have a look at the consultation and appendices: I have absolutely no idea what practices need to do to get an "excellent" grade: what is worse, I cannot see how CQC inspectors will know either!
    http://www.cqc.org.uk/public/get-involved/consultations/consultation-how-we-regulate-inspect-and-rate-services
    What *is* clear is that it will cost an arm and a leg - and if, as I understand, costs will be born by those regulated, I assume that this will come from GP funding - reducing patient care services even further!

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  • Exactly what the Doctor ordered!
    It's deliberately stressful, it's deliberately expensive, it's just an even bigger stick to bash the living daylights out of GPs.
    You can't ever win as your stick is puny and broken (BMA).
    When somebody has a bigger stick than you - run away...

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  • Una Coales

    The cost of meeting CQC tickbox demands to pass premise inspection (think £10,000s), cost and time to pass revalidation (think scrutiny of NHS England RO), cost and time to run a GP surgery on a shoestring budget and cost of TUPE (protecting existing practice staff) may well be designed to ensure the timescale is met in time for the next general election.

    One by one practices will resign.

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  • When will the BMA/RCGP & LMCs come together and say enough is enough! An already demoralised workforce is going to get even more unhappy and more GPs will leave the profession or go abroad .There wont be many partners left- no wonder younger GPS don't want to be partners and be happy as Locums!

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