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CQC confirms GPs will pay 9% increase in fees this year

The CQC has announced a 9% increase in fees for GP practices from April, expected to add around £60 to the bill of an average practice.

The regulator said the rise would allow it to ‘recover the costs from its new way of regulating health and adult social care’ across the country.

But the GPC condemned the decision, which has been taken after a public consultation last year and approval from health secretary Jeremy Hunt and which will see the CQC hike fees for all providers except dentists.

In 2014 practices incurred a 2.5% hike in fees, which the CQC said would recoup the ‘full cost of regulation from registration fees’.

CQC chief executive David Behan said the new fee rise would add around £60 to the bill of an average practice but promised that the body was ‘determined to deliver on its value for money’.

He added that the CQC would introduce the option for providers to pay by instalments and by direct debit later in the year.

He said: ‘We understand that the increase in fees is happening at difficult economic time for many providers but we hope that they, and importantly those who use their services, are seeing the benefits of our inspections, which allow us to identify where improvements are needed and to celebrate what services are doing well.

‘We are determined to deliver value for money by being an efficient and effective organisation.’

But GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘It is extremely disappointing that the views of 80% of the respondents to the consultation have been ignored and GP practices will be facing yet another increase in CQC fees. This will be a further financial blow to GP practices just weeks after the DDRB failed to act on the rising cost of GP practice expenses in their recommendations.

‘These separate squeezes on GP budgets at a time of rising patient demand will inevitable reduce resources available for patient care. The CQC should re-evaluate this decision and actually listen to the opinions expressed in the consultation.’

The news comes as the CQC’s ‘tough’ new inspection regime and policy of publishing pre-inspection risk ratings for practices have been criticised by GP leaders.

Meanwhile, all GP practices will be required to ‘prominently display’ their CQC ratings from April this year.

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