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Universities 'using CQC risk bandings' to gauge if practices 'good enough' for student placement

Exclusive GP leaders have expressed concern after hearing universities are using the CQC ‘intelligent monitoring’ data to decide where to send GP students on placement.

The GPC has been told that universities are already using the 1-6 ‘risk’ bandings to determine whether a practice is ‘good enough’ to take on their students, but said this was not an appropriate use of the ‘very limited’ data.

Health Education West Midlands told Pulse it has been approached by at least one university asking whether it should be using the data to gauge the suitability of practices, especially in the instances where they have not yet had a CQC inspection.

Approached by Pulse, a spokesperson for Health Education England (HEE) nationally said they would expect universities to make use of ‘all available information’ in their decision process.

The CQC’s intelligent monitoring data has come under heavy criticism from GP leaders as a rough measure based on QOF achievement and patient survey responses. Plagued by inaccuracies, the CQC has been forced to apologise to 60 practices after incorrectly labelling them as at high risk of providing poor care to patients but has refused to completely withdraw the publication.

Dr Martin Wilkinson, director of GP Education at HEE West Midlands, said: ‘I can confirm that we have had an enquiry about how universities assess suitability of practices for training and whether they should use CQC data or not, especially where a practice has not had a CQC visit.’

But Dr Robert Morley, GPC contracts and regulations lead, said he was told universities were already using the data in this way.

He said: ‘What I have been told verbally is that universities are using the intelligent monitoring rankings as a marker of whether practices are “good enough” to take their students on placements.’

He added: ‘Intelligent monitoring data as it currently exists is not appropriate information for this purpose, indeed for any purpose.

‘It uses a very limited set of indicators, some of which are not fit for purpose in the first place as measures of practice quality, and certainly not as measures for the suitability of placing medical students and applies them in exactly the same way to every practice totally devoid of context.

‘It is yet another example of this information being used in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons and another example of the damage it is causing.’

An HEE spokesperson said: ‘We would expect universities to use all available appropriate information to ensure that student and trainee placements are suitable.’

Last week, a Pulse analysis revealed that six of the seven GP practices to have been rated ‘inadequate’ under the new Ofsted-style CQC inspection regime had problems with GP recruitment.

The CQC has launched an internal audit ‘to understand the root causes of the mistakes’ surrounding the intelligent monitoring data, after the GPC declared the system ‘a shambles’.

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Readers' comments (8)

  • "Intelligent monitoring"?

    Shouldn't it be renamed "thick as a brick monitoring"?

    or how about Cackhanded Quack Condemnation monitoring?

    Today's test - please use the phrases "CQC" and "intelligent" in the same sentence without including the phrase "is not"

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  • I suggest the only way to stop CQC is to tackle them like you do with any bullies - we need to stand up and show them we won't just roll over.

    GPC should really be considering a class action against CQC for lost earnings and slander. But they wont - they are too much of a wannbe "politicians" to act on our behalf.

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  • Let them - they will reap what they sow. As it is universities are struggling to find enough practices for student placements. This will mean fewer students exposed to general practice hence adding to the recruitment crisis.

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  • Peter Swinyard

    Let me think. Universities are expected to approach data with academic rigour.
    So what the blazes are they doing looking at the unevidenced and spurious data which spurts out of the Newspeak-labelled "intelligent monitoring"
    Orwell would laugh - he invented the Ministry of Truth (propaganda), the Ministry of Love (waging war) and the Ministry of Health (oh, um, no, that was us).

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  • Vinci Ho

    See , I always think George was a prophet. He should be a Rock n' Roll star if he lived in this era.

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  • John Glasspool

    Any university using this "data" should be shut down.

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  • Anon 10.33.making a stand does have ressults sometimes respect to Hadrian Moss and Pulse for flagging up the 'list closures' nonsense which has led to a 'will look into' at least . As for basing placements on unreliable to say the least, data...those who are referring students need to explain and declare any interests if any, and as always look behind the scenes to see who has contacts/who may be teaching at the university which refers to one practice over another.

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  • In any case, looking at practice funding, where one practice gets £500 and another £110 per patient, yet CQC judges them the same. The whole NHS is riven with injustice, unfairness and discrimination. One A+E has 1 Consultant per 6000, another 1 per 12000 patient attendances, yet judged the same.
    What a absurd mess CQC is. It compares oranges with Orang -outans and tries to give an answer. But that is Britain these days. It is not a fair and equitable society. Maybe never was.

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