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CQC registration will force ‘unnecessary’ burden on GPs

The Government needs to postpone its CQC registration deadline to avoid hitting GPs with an ‘insupportable' triple whammy of regulation as the introduction of CQC requirements, revalidation and health bill changes collide, medical defence experts have warned.

Responding to the Government's CQC registration consultation, the Medical Defence Union (MDU) warned that requirements for practices to register with the CQC by April 2013 will overburden GPs as it collides with doctors starting revalidation and taking on clinical commissioning responsibilities under the health bill.

The MDU has called on the Government to postpone its deadline for CQC registration beyond April 2013 - or defer revalidation - in order to protect doctors from being hit with an ‘unnecessary' and ‘insupportable' administrative burden.

Dr Mike Devlin, MDU head of Advisory Services, said: ‘If GPs were required to register with the CQC at the same time as they are expected to provide all the information for revalidation, we believe this would impose and unnecessary and potentially insupportable regulatory burden on them and their practice. If one of these dates is not changed we believe it would create an unnecessary and potentially insupportable administrative burden upon all GPs who are in the first group of doctors required to revalidate.'

The MDU also called on the Government to scrap the requirement for GP practices that provide out-of-hours care to register twice with separate deadlines. Under current proposals practices providing in and out-of-hours care need to register once as a main practice by April 2013 and once as an out-of-hours provider by April 2012.

‘Primary care practices that provide OOH care as part of their services should only have to register with the CQC once, for all the services they provide, and it would be sensible for this to be at the same time as other GPs,' Dr Devlin said.

In its own response to the consultation, The Medical Protection Society (MPS) echoed the MDU's warning against placing ‘additional administrative burdens' on GPs during a time of flux in the NHS, but stopped short of calling on a shift in the CQC registration deadline.

The MPS also called on the registration deadline for all out-of-hours providers and walk-in centres to be put back a year to April 2013.

Dr Stephanie Brown, director of policy and communications at the MPS, said: ‘At a time of rapid change throughout the NHS – particularly in general practice – any additional administrative burdens on general practice should be both appropriately timed, and as efficient and streamlined as possible.'

Last month, as reported in Pulse, the GPC demanded the Government ‘radically rethink' its plans for CQC registration. The GPC pushed for a further delay to the April 2013 deadline and warned that the current plans would see GPs deluged with paperwork and diverted away from treating patients.