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CQC registration fees to rise by 2.5%, but could double in future years

CQC registration fees for GP practices are set to rise by 2.5% from next April, but could double in future years as the watchdog seeks to recoup the full cost of regulation from registration fees.

The CQC has launched a consultation about the fees it proposes to charge all registered providers in 2014/15, in a move the GPC said will be ‘very concerning’ to practices battling rising expenses.

It proposes an increase of 2.5%, meaning registration fees will be set at £565 to £875 for practices with one branch, depending on the number of registered patients.

Practices with multiple branches, will pay from £1,230 to £15,375 depending on the number of locations.

While a 2.5% rise is proposed for 2014/15, the CQC have admitted that they currently only recover half the costs of regulation from fees paid by primary medical service providers.

Currently, the CQC is given a £31 million grant-in-aid from the Department of Health, but have been instructed by ministers that they must move towards a model in which they recoup all the costs of regulation from providers.

The CQC’s impact assessment said: ‘We are proposing an increase in fees for all providers by 2.5%. This will enable us to make a modest amount of progress towards cost recovery in line with current government policy.’

It added: ‘NHS primary medical care providers are currently at a 50% cost recovery rate as they were first registered in April 2013, whereas other sectors have been registered for longer.

‘Where the costs of regulating a sector new to registration are not yet fully known, such as in the dental and primary medical care sectors, our policy has been to set fees at an anticipated 50% of full cost recovery and then maintain an upward trajectory once these costs and data to support this are more fully known.’

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said practices would be ‘very concerned’ with rising CQC fees, and the lack of restriction on the CQC’s regulation of GPs.

Practices will be very concerned about rising costs at the time when expenses are rising rapidly. The results of the DDRB review showed expenses are rising and reimbursement has not caught up. This comes at a time when practices, and the wider NHS, are facing financial problems.

‘It is a big concern for practices. They’ll also be concerned that the CQC doesn’t have any restrictions. GPs have to fund the CQC’s regulation and there seem to be no constraints on the CQC financially, or them being proportionate.’

Previously, the GPC has argued that NHS England should pay GP’s CQC fees, as the costs of hospital registration fees are paid by the trust.