All GP practices will be required to set up a patient participation group in order to comply with CQC registration standards, the GPC has warned.
Many practices have already begun setting up patient representative groups as part of the patient participation DES, with Pulse reporting last year the scheme had left some practices ‘confused and overburdened’ with paperwork.
But new GPC guidance on how GPs should gear up for CQC registration next April lists a ‘patient participation scheme’ as one of several requirements o ensure that a practice is ‘likely to be compliant’.
The guidance, CQC registration – What you need to know, advises practices on what they need to do to prepare for the 16 essential standards practices will need to comply with.
It warns practices must offernewly registered patients a health check with a healthcare assistant, practice nurse or a GP ‘within six months of registration’, and provide a consultation on request for ‘any registered patients aged 16-75 that have not attended a consultation in three years’.
The guidance also advises GP principals to put themselves forward as the ‘registered managers’ legally responsible for their practice’s CQC compliance, and says they should not leave the role to practice managers or administrators because of the scale of the responsibility involved.
On premises standards, an area where the GPC has warned many surgeries may not be compliant, practices are advised to carry out a health and safety risk assessment of their buildings, ensure premises meet contractual requirements, and are ‘reasonably accessible to all patients’ under the terms of the Equality Act 2010.
But when an issue cannot be resolved, if for example a practice cannot secure funding, the GPC suggests GPs ‘consider managing that risk by displaying appropriate information (eg alternative practices, how to access support), providing appropriate support to patients or adjusting how you use different parts of your premises’.
Practices are also advised to ensure ‘all staff are appraised on a yearly basis’ and to implement ‘a repeat prescribing policy that covers conducting medication reviews’.
Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC chair, said: ‘We’ve produced this guidance to help GPs and practice managers through the process, trying to make it as straightforward as possible. However we believe all practices should already be able to fulfil and demonstrate the essential standards through the work they currently do.’
One GP in Hereford, who asked not to be named, said: ‘I didn’t know about the patient participation groups. As if I don’t have better things to do than write 250 new policies to be compliant with the CQC and pay them for the privilege.’
Dr Paul Spencer, a GP in Telford, Shropshire, said: ‘We have no confidence in the CQC – however we will continue to jump through hoops as and when they present.’
He added: ‘We do have a patient participation group and so far it’s surprisingly working quite well. It’s certainly more useful than the ridiculous patient questionnaire was.’
What GPs are advised to do to meet CQC registration:
· Have a patient participation scheme
· Offer newly registered patients a health check within six months of registration and provide on request a consultation for any registered patients aged 16-75 that has not attended a consultation in three years.
· Provide lifestyle information to patients when appropriate
· Discuss options and arrangements for referral with patients
· Have in place a repeat prescribing policy that covers conducting medication reviews
· Conduct a health and safety risk assessment of their premises.
· Ensure premises meet their contractual requirements.
· Ensure premises are reasonably accessible to all patients and where reasonably practicable meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 regarding disabled people.
· Ensures all staff are appraised on a yearly basis
Source: CQC Registration – what you need to know: GPC [LINK]