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Analysis: How will CQC visits work?  

The criteria

Inspectors will assess practices against a minimum of five of the CQC’s 16 essential quality and safety standards, which include medicines management and infection control.  The inspector can add any standard if appropriate. 

The process

Inspectors will observe interaction between staff and patients and carry out document or record reviews.

They will spend most of their time talking to patients, staff or members of the patient participation group. The CQC says the amount of GP input required will depend on the practice. GPs need not block out the whole of their day, but should leave some time to speak to inspectors. 

The frequency

Scheduled inspections will occur every two years. A ‘responsive’ inspection can take place at any point, usually if concerns are raised over whether a practice is meeting the essential standards or when the CQC is following up non-compliance from a previous inspection.

There may also be ‘themed’ inspections, when the CQC reviews a particular type of service or set of standards.


Practices should fill out the relevant documentation, but other than that there is no need to prepare. 

The CQC has said practices should not improve their premises or hire extra staff before an inspection.