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CQC set to rate private online GP providers under DH plans

Private and online GP services should be rated on the same scale as NHS general practice according to Government proposals put out for consultation today.

The changes will be part of a new ‘exclusive’ approach to regulation that will see the CQC tasked with inspecting and rating all regulated health providers, barring a few ‘proposed exclusions’.

This will mean regulated providers, including the the growing numbers of digital GP providers, which are currently inspected but not given an overall rating, will be marked ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

The changes come after recent CQC inspections found some services were failing in their provision of safe care.

It will also mean ratings being introduced for all private GP and doctor services, and independent community health service providers.

The consultation says these groups were initially spared to prevent CQC being overloaded when it launched its new inspection regime.

However the same consultation asks respondents views on the continued exclusion from CQC ratings for primary dental care, minor cosmetic surgery services, prison health and screening.

It adds: ‘We believe it is important to rate all health and social care service providers in respect of the regulated activities which they carry on.

‘We now propose to extend the CQC’s duty to undertake performance assessments and provide a rating for providers of all regulated activities unless (and to the extent that) the regulations specifically exclude them.’

The launch will coincide with health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s speech where he will pledge that all patients will be able to book GP appointments and check their medical records via apps before 2019.

The consultation will run for eight weeks.