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Close to four in 10 GP practices set for CQC reinspection within a year

The CQC will reinspect almost four in 10 GP practices within the next year, including the quarter of good-rated practices which were found to have a breach of regulation.

Although the watchdog has said practices which have received either a good or outstanding rating (currently around 5,000), will be inspected within five years – it has emerged that a fifth of these will be inspected in 2017/18.

Under the CQC’s inspection timetable, which comes as it has completed the first round of inspecting all GP practices in England, it wil inspect:

  • practices rated inadequate (currently 336 practices) within six months;
  • those rated requires improvement (997 so far), and those rated good with breaches (1,477 so far), within one year;
  • and the practices rated good with a clean sheet for breaches (4,772 at the moment), and the outstanding practices (278), within five years (20% of which are expected to be inspected during 2017/18).

Having a five year gap between inspections for good and outstanding-rated practices was originally proposed in 2015 by Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice, and confirmed in the GP Forward View last year.

Whether a practice is inspected sooner or later will depend on risk, so GP practices with lower ratings for some individual population groups would be inspected first and the CQC would also consider other sources of intelligence when deciding when to re-inspect practices.

Dr Robert Morley, GPC policy lead for contracts and regulation said: ‘Whilst the intention to move to less frequent inspections for the majority of practices is welcome, the devil will be in the detail and hopefully we’ll know more soon when CQC’s consultation [into how CQC will regulate primary care in future] is published.

‘My concern, apart from the point… that four in ten will still face an inspection in the next year, is that the burden of a visit every year might be replaced by even greater burdens from other parts of the bloated CQC machinery, for example the GP Insight system that is being launched imminently and perhaps a move to annual reporting requirements that might turn out to be monstrously bureaucratic for every practice.’

The CQC has finished inspecting all GP practices for the first time that were registered before October 2014. It aims to inspect practices registered between 1 October 2014 and 31 March 2017 by March 2018.