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Practices to pay almost £2,000 more in CQC fees from April

Practices will pay an average of £1,839 more in CQC fees from April, after the regulator chose to bring its six-fold fee increase in over two years rather than spread it over four.

The CQC announced that the majority of those responding to its consultation on fee increases called for the six-fold rise to be brought in over four years, thereby reducing the burden on providers.

But the regulator said it had to bring them in over two years, which meant that practices with between 5,000 and 10,000 patients would have to pay almost £2,000 more from April.

The CQC has been told by the Government that it will have to fund the cost of inspections through fees, because the Treasury is cutting its grant.

The contract deal for 2016/17 announced last month saw practices given a 3.2% funding uplift, which incorporated the increase in CQC fees.

However, when the contract was announced, it was unclear by how much the CQC fees would increase.

In its consultation last year, the CQC gave two proposals for the fee increase – one of which would see average practices paying £2,187 from April, the other which would see practices paying £1,341. 

It announced today it had chosen the first one.

As a result, practices with under 5,000 patients would see their fees increasing by £1,571, and those with 10,001 to 15,000 patients would see their fees increasing by £2,139.

By 2017/18, fees will have increased by more than six-fold for all practices, with even the smallest practices paying more than £4,000 a year.

The CQC said that the responses received to the consultation ’expressed a strong preference’ for the four-year option.

However, its chief executive David Behan said: ’We understand that the scheme that has been put forward is not the one the majority of those who took part in our consultation would have preferred.

’In order to achieve our requirement to the Government and commitment to the taxpayer, we need to work towards reaching full cost recovery while reducing our overall budget by at least £32m.’

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC chair, said: “The CQC’s proposed rises are wholly disproportionate and unwarranted. These increases will see a significant rise in fees for GP practices at a time when many are under intense, unsustainable pressure from rising patient demand, falling resources and staff shortages.

’The planned changes show the CQC has completely ignored the vast majority of responses to its consultation and its announcement today makes a mockery of the whole exercise.’ 

A DH spokesperson said: ’We know GPs are under pressure and that is why we are giving them more support. We have agreed changes to the GP contract that include an extra £220million investment in general practice from next month – this includes funding to cover this year’s increase in CQC fees.

 ’These fees allow CQC’s tough inspection regime to drive up standards across the country, helping to make sure that all patients have access to a safer NHS, seven days a week.’