Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Revealed: How GPs have spent millions preparing for CQC registration

Exclusive GP practices have spent an average of more than £2,500 on preparing to register with the CQC, despite the regulator insisting it does not expect practices to spend any additional funds, a Pulse survey reveals.

Our poll of 273 GPs shows over half have spent more than £1,000 preparing for CQC registration, including staff time, while more than one in ten have spent over £5,000.

If the average costs are extrapolated to cover all 8,300 practices across England, this would mean the profession has spent a total of £21,090,300 preparing for registration from 1 April.

The GPC said it was ‘concerning’ practices were spending this money at a time when resources were dwindling and many were looking at how they can maintain patient services under the terms of the new GP contract for 2013/14.

The survey findings follow several reports of overzealous PCTs using CQC registration to force practices to make expensive changes, with one surgery told recently by NHS managers that it must have a £300,000 refurbishment in order to prepare for CQC inspection. Last year it also emerged more than 1,000 practices had spent hundreds of pounds each on software to prepare for CQC registration.

The survey found practices spent an average of £2,541 on preparing for registration. Some 16% of GPs said they spent nothing at all, but 71% said they spent anything from up to £500 to more than £5,000 on getting the practice ready.

On average practices have spent an average of 7.4 staff days preparing for registration. Only a minority (3%) said they had spent just one day or less.

All practices are expected to be registered with the regulator from 1 April, although two practices have been served with closure notices by the CQC.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said the findings showed how seriously GPs were taking CQC registration and how worried they were about the prospect of inspections.

He said: ‘It’s concerning that practices are spending money they can ill afford at a time when resources are being squeezed.’

‘This is yet another initial cost they’re being squeezed for, when the Government hasn’t accepted the DDRB’s recommendations about an uplift to GP funding.’

‘Some practices have been unduly worried - we’ve heard reports of [GPs] being ordered by the PCT to refit their practice for infection control, which turned out not to be the case. But until inspections start they won’t have a benchmark against which to measure themselves.’

‘They can’t afford to wait to find out because their future livelihood depends on their practice.’

Dr Peter Swinyard, chair of the Family Doctor Association, said in his small practice preparing for registration took two days of his time and five days of his practice manager’s time.

He said: ‘In cost terms, two days of my time to replace me is £1,200. And five days of my practice manager’s time… we pay £33,000 for a 44-week year. So you can work out the expense.’

He added: ‘A few days ago at a small conference I asked for a show of hands on who thought that a single life will be saved by the CQC. Not a single hand went up. We’re talking about a low risk environment. It’s one regulator too far. Stepping up the regime in light of the Francis report wouldn’t be very wise. We don’t starve our patients in general practices, nor do we leave them in soiled beds.’

Dr Stephen Gardiner, a GP in Somerset, said that that CQC registration had been a considerable burden.

He said: ‘One month of our manager’s time investigating what is expected reasonably and drawing up and collating protocols; at least four hour-long partners’ meetings going over it all; several hour-long staff meetings plus regular email updates.’

‘Some of it has been useful in terms of dotting “i”s and crossing “t”s and centralising all of the information. However the cost of this benefit has been enormous and things weren’t going wrong beforehand. Most of the expense was staff time - we are pretty well equipped and we have always had quite high expenses. It’s about the workload involved in it.’

A CQC spokesperson said: ‘We’d expect all practices to be safe and hygienic. We haven’t required GPs to spend money to do this.’

‘We’ve tried through working with GPs, particularly through the online registration process we’ve set up, to reduce the time that needs to be spent on registration and have always been available for advice.’

Amount spent on CQC registration

£0                                        16% of GPs

£0- £499                               13% of GPs

£500- £999                           15% of GPs

£1000- £4999                      40% of GPs

£5000- £10,000                  16% of GPs

GPs spent an average of £2540.87

 

Time spent on CQC registration

0 to half a day                12% of GPs

Half a day to one day      3% of GPs

Two to five days              21% of GPs      

Five to ten days              27% of GPs

Ten to fifteen days          37% of GPs

GPs spent an average of 7.41 days on CQC registration

 

Last chance to win a Kindle Fire! Give us your views on the CQC, care homes and online records and you could win a Kindle Fire tablet. Click here to take the survey.

Pulse Live: 30 April - 1 May, Birmingham

Pulse Live

Stephen Dorrell, chair of the House of Commons health select committee, will be talking about where general practice will fit into the NHS of the future at Pulse Live, Pulse’s new two-day annual conference for GPs, practice managers and primary care managers.

Pulse Live offers practical advice on key clinical and practice business topics, as well as an opportunity to debate the future of the profession, and a top range of speakers includes NICE chair designate Professor David Haslam, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey and the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, chair of the House of Commons health committee.

To find out more and book your place, please click here.

 

Readers' comments (5)

  • Most of this expense has been through PCTs and Practices over-reacting and organisations jumping on the bandwagon and pursuading practices to part with large sums of money.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Maybe practices have NEEDED to spend this to bring themselves up to date re quality and CQC. We have been CQCd and our cost was pence. My previous surgery, where I used to work was a disgrace as the GP refused to pay out anything to be updated/upgraded and will have needed to spend thousands to be just up to minimum standards.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'd be more worried about the 12% who spent less than half a day preparing for the inspection. Given that CQC is supposed to ensure practices meet minimum patient safety standards, it either shows utter complacency or that these practices have a complete disregard for patient safety.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • There is a huge difference between Registration and actual compliance.
    Most of the "CQC requirements" have already been part of the law for many many many years. If you had been compliant with all these in the first place, the registration would have been a piece of cake, and would have/should have cost you "Nada".

    What this survey doesn't show is that most practices have spent time, effort, and money on updating policies NOT on processes for actual day to day quality assurance and compliance ... which should have been in place already, CQC or no CQC.

    Day to day safety is what any regulator would be looking for. It is about being able to show that you operate safely every single day of the year.

    DON'T waste money on registration (Oops too late!)
    DO spend it on making your processes more efficient and save money long term

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If you are super duper already, you spend nothing and have nothing to fear. But expense at a time of severe falling profit is tough. Darzi centres, I believe, had £770 per patient compared to our £117.00. Hardly fair, but when ever was the NHS fair?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say