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CQC is a ‘bloated bureaucracy’, says BMA

The BMA has called the proposed increases in CQC inspection fees ‘exorbitant’ and ‘inexplicable’, warning that they would threaten the existence of small GP practices.

In its response to the consultation on CQC fees, the BMA has said that the Government is ’mercilessly raiding a budget, purportedly ringfenced for frontline services’ by making NHS providers pay the full cost of fees to the CQC.

It also calls the CQC ‘an increasingly bloated bureaucracy with little focus on value for money or analysis of the real performance indicators linking cost to quality outcomes.’

This comes as the GPC launched a survey asking English GP practices about their ‘experiences of CQC inspections’, to support their case against the process. The GPC have already pledged to fight the proposed increase in CQC fees.

According to an email sent to GPs from Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC chair, the responses to the survey will help ‘inform discussions at the LMC special conference on 30 January’, where GPs will debate a motion calling for the GPC to produce an alternative to CQC inspections.

Questions in the survey, which only takes 5-10 minutes to complete, include: estimating how much staff time has been taken up by the CQC, stating whether your practice has incurred any extra expense from the CQC inspection and how well you feel the inspection measures the quality of the practice.

GP leaders last year ‘voted to end the current inspection process on the basis of it being unfit for purpose’ and the survey will help the GPC ‘to argue our case from the first-hand experience of GP practices themselves’, Dr Nagpaul said.

GP support for the CQC is low, with a recent survey finding eight out of ten GPs want CQC inspections to stop

Other topics of debate at the LMCs special conference include a motion for mass resignation unless a ‘rescue package’ for general practice is agreed and a motion to increase GP appointments to 15 minutes, although the agenda does not feature a debate on potential industrial action.