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CQC accused of ‘soliciting negative GP feedback’ amid reports of 176% rise in complaints

CQC accused of ‘soliciting negative GP feedback’ amid reports of 176% rise in complaints

CQC data has shown a 176% increase in people reporting a bad experience from GP providers in 2021 after the launch of its ‘Give feedback on care’ portal.

The data, provided to Pulse, showed that the regulator had received 8,267 negative comments about GP practices in 2021, up from 3,001 in 2020, all made through the portal.

It also showed an increase in positive comments, from 804 to 1,462.

‘Give feedback on care’, established in 2019, allows people to share experiences of care or concerns about services, and in 2021 the CQC ran campaigns for patients to raise concerns through the portal.

However, GPs have expressed concerns that this amounts to the CQC ‘soliciting negative comments’ about GP practices, and the figures are a ‘gross misrepresentation’ of patients’ feelings about general practice.

Pulse’s analysis of CQC’s Give feedback on care data showed:

  • Overall feedback on GP providers increased by 155%, from 4,149 in 2020 to 10,588 in 2021. 
  • Purely bad experiences made up 72% of all feedback in 2020, rising by six percentage points to 78% in 2021.
  • Purely good experiences made up 19% of all feedback in 2020, decreasing by five percentage points to 14% in 2021.

Chair of grassroots campaign group GP Survival Dr John Hughes said the CQC’s figures are ‘a gross misrepresentation of statistics to make it look much worse than it is’.

He said: ‘In any survey, there’s going to be a certain amount of recording bias that the people who aren’t happy are more likely to respond than the ones who had a good experience.’

South-West London GP partner Dr Nicholas Grundy told Pulse: ‘Encouraging more people to give feedback is likely to increase negative feedback – a pompous, trivial national body like the CQC sending this garbage out will have just attracted people [who] love to complain, and anonymous feedback to a self-important national body I imagine attracted comments from lots of people who’d been taken in by the Government telling them they should demand face-to-face appointments.’

He added: ‘My practice, like every other one in the country, has feedback every day informally from patients. We have formal feedback via our Patient Participation Group, and via the local Healthwatch, who are excellent.’

During the pandemic, GPs suffered months of public and media backlash over the idea that GP practices were closed and GPs were not seeing patients face-to-face.

CQC chief inspector of primary medical services Dr Rosie Benneyworth said in November that feedback on primary care had increased overall, and that the lion share ‘relates to concerns that we are seeing about access to care in general practice’.

In October, unannounced CQC access inspections were introduced as part of NHS England plans for improving access to GP practices, enabling the regulator to work with NHS England to ‘make the required improvements across those practices which are not meeting people’s reasonable needs’.

But last month the CQC revealed its first 40 access focused inspections on GP practices had found ‘no current issues’ at any practice.

Give feedback on care sentiment Jan-Nov 2020 Jan-Nov 2021 % increase
Bad experience 3,001 8,267 175.5%
Both good and bad experience 344 859 149.7%
Good experience 804 1,462 81.8%
Overall 4,149 10,588 155.2%
Source: CQC data provided to Pulse

Nottingham GP partner Dr Shan Hussain also told Pulse the findings are ‘clearly different’ to the latest IPSOS Mori GP patient survey, which showed that 83% of patients described a good overall experience.

He said: ‘Speaking to my colleagues across the nation it appears that we are doing all we can within a broken system during extraordinary times. The pandemic has truly exposed the cracks within general practice as our workload increases and staff numbers fall.’

The NHS’s latest GP patient survey found more than eight in ten patients (83%) had an overall ‘good’ experience of their GP practice between January and March 2021.

A CQC spokesperson said: ‘We are sensitive to the pressures facing care providers, this is why we continue to be flexible and adaptable in our approach, focusing on responding to risk. This includes listening to what people tell us about their experiences of using services and informing them about the quality of care that they can expect to receive.

‘We use feedback to inform our regulatory action to ensure people are receiving good quality and safe care. We could not do this without the concerns people raise, and the positive feedback on services which we use to share good practice.’



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 15 February, 2022 7:30 pm

There are no cracks in General Practice. The cracks lie in the sick and perverse institutes that create a climate of fear, monitoring and blame. And empower complainers not carers. The whisteblower got silenced long ago. Dirty claps and dirty back handers. Go regulate the Government which created you.

Chris GP 15 February, 2022 10:22 pm

Don’t care. If it’s that cr*p just shut us down. Give this absolutely shite job to someone else to see if they can do it any better for the same money. I do hope NHSE, CQC, Saj, and most importantly the public get exactly what they deserve.

Dr N 15 February, 2022 10:30 pm

It’s crap from both sides of the fence. I don’t need anyone else to tell me. But being told it’s crap doesn’t solve the problem, and it’s not individual GP problem to solve. Today consultations comprised of numerous patients unable to access ever department in secondary care. I want to doctor health not a failed system

Turn out The Lights 16 February, 2022 7:22 am

It’s easy to bully small people,when it comes to dealing with the big issue the cache are toothless.Carry on bullying CQC don’t deal with the fundamental issues with health and social care,carry on ignoring the elephants in the room ant it will collapse on your watch.Thenthey will come after you.

Mr Marvellous 16 February, 2022 9:41 am

Anyone surprised by this should read the short fable of the Scorpion and the Frog.

“I am sorry, but I couldn’t resist the urge. It’s in my nature.”

Michael Mullineux 16 February, 2022 10:14 am

Spot on Dr Grundy – pompous trivial jobsworths

Gabor Szekely 16 February, 2022 10:33 am

Only what one would expect from the perpetual s**t-stirrers!
Incidentally ironic that the fable of the Scorpion and the Frog hails from Russia. Is Putin by any chance a relative of the Scorpion?!

David jenkins 16 February, 2022 11:22 am

if you were paid by the government to rock boats, how would YOU do it ?

would you set upon a lot of small boats with a few people aboard (local GP practices), or would you try and overturn a couple of ocean going liners (big shiny hospitals) ?

i, personally, wouldn’t do the job at all, but if i was a nasty bully, paid a lot of money, i know which option i would take !

Patrufini Duffy 16 February, 2022 1:06 pm

BREAKING NEWS (Pulse might want to head up a new article)

You remember that CQC chap (Prof) – yes another one Steve Field – that gave you nightmares and shut you down. And was part of that borderline racist institute called the CQC which single out single-handed friends.
Well his behavior seems to be pervasive:—mp/

Neil Tallant 16 February, 2022 8:45 pm

Has any Practice ever had a positive experience of a CQC visit that they could comment on in an anonymous on-line survey?
In 2018 NHS digital report 307million GP consultations. In 2021 CQC report feedback from 10,500 of these consultations = sample size of 0.003% (based on 2018 Figure of consultations). Not quite sure how to calculate a p value now but suspect it doesn’t quite reach an area of statistical ( or any other area other than irrelevant irritation) ) significance. As previously stated this is a Commission of Questionable Competences who do focus on the negatives rather than the relevancies.

Dave Haddock 17 February, 2022 3:53 pm

The cqc have inflicted significant harm on GP.
However GPs who do not realise that lots of people are pretty cross at GP effectively disappearing in some areas, those GPs are deluding themselves.
Some practices simply shut the doors and were unavailable to all but the most persistent – whilst still being paid as if providing normal service.

Dermot Ryan 21 February, 2022 10:56 am

CQC empire building and grandstanding to justify their miserable sanctimonious existence.
Between them NHSE, GMC, CQC and NICE are gradually eroding professional standards to such an extent that if you do not fit into one of their little small minded tick boxes you do not count (and neither do your patients!)