Walk-in practices charged higher CQC fees regardless of size
Practices who provide a walk-in or out-of hours service will be charged full annual fees by the CQC, potentially leaving them £300 out of pocket, regardless of the actual size of their patient list the regulator has admitted.
The regulator said that a practice based in one location will have to pay £850 - the highest on the fee scale - if it states that it offers walk-in, out-of-hours or ‘other’ services, which could be up to £300 more than they should.
GPs could be charged even more if they fail to correctly state the number of locations their practice is based in, LMC leaders warned.
GPs pay their CQC annual fees, which range from £550- £15,000, based on their list size and number of locations. Practices with one location with a list size from 0-5000 pay £550, whereas those with one location but a list size of more than 15,000 pay £850.
The CQC confirmed that if a practice said it provided walk-in or out-of-hours services or selected the ‘other’ option when registering then the patient list size was discounted and the top charge of £850 would automatically be applied.
A CQC spokesperson said this was because it was assumed that walk in centres usually do not have registered lists and cover large numbers of patients.
The spokesperson said: ‘If a GP provider with one location has selected a location type of GP services plus any other type such as walk in centre or out-of-hours location type, then the registered patient list size criteria won’t apply and the £850 charge will apply.
‘The reasoning behind this was covered in CQC’s fees consultation, which stated that “providers of NHS walk-in-centre services and other similar primary medical services do not generally have a registered patient list, and provide services to a broad population, which is likely to equate in registration cost to the very large band of over 15,000 patients”.’
They added that if a GP believes they have indicated the wrong location type they can contact the CQC to ensure it rectified.
Last year the GPC called for the NHS Commissioning Board, now NHS England, to pay GPs’ annual CQC fees, as all other doctors’ CQC registration fees are paid by their employing organisation.
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMC warned GPs to make sure they are paying the correct rate. Its newsletter said: ‘Check that you are being charged at the right rate by the CQC. Apparently, if a practice has inadvertently put that they provide urgent care or “other”, it will automatically be charged at the top rate of £850 (for one location).
‘Make sure that you have counted the number of locations in accordance with the CQC’s definition of a location, as the more locations the higher the CQC’s charges.’
How much will you pay?
0 to 5000
50001 to 10,000
10,0001 to 15, 000
more than 15, 000
6 to 10
11 to 40
more than 40