This site is intended for health professionals only

CQC ‘setting practices up for failure’ claims GPC member after finding 41 errors in draft inspection report

Exclusive A GPC member has launched a major broadside against the CQC’s new inspections regime, claiming that inspections are ‘chaotic’ and ‘not fit for purpose’.

Just days before the CQC’s new inspections regime is due to be officially launched, Dr Paul Cundy, a long-standing member of the GPC and chair of its IT committee, accused the the CQC of not following its own procedures and that practices were ‘set up to fail’.

In an open letter to the CQC’s senior national GP advisor, Professor Nigel Sparrow and chief inspector of general practice, Professor Steve Field, Dr Cundy said he had found 41 errors in the report prepared on his practice.

He said that after a shadow inspection on his practice earlier this year, he was convinced the CQC’s inspection regime misrepresents ‘recommendations as requirements’ and is ‘not acting in accordance with CQC guidelines’.

The letter added: ‘If practices cannot trust CQC inspectors to stick to their own rules and if recommendations are being dressed up as requirements then that raises significant questions about the confidence the profession can have in CQC.’

The inspection of the practice took place on 14 May and Dr Cundy claimed that it was confusing and contradictory, with his practice sent a 72-page report from their CCG – detailing several areas where they were ‘outliers’ – just 13 minutes before CQC inspection staff arrived.

He added that that in several places the wording of the draft report prepared on his practice was ‘misleading’ and that it was ‘partial and incomplete’.

Specific errors in the report include:

  • The title of the report had the name of the surgery written incorrectly.
  • The report says the practice did not have a business continuity plan, when Dr Cundy told inspectors that told them that they did, but was not able to locate this at the time of the inspection.
  • The report claims staff had not completed ‘appropriate child protection training’, when inspectors were told that the person in question had training, but the practice was unable to supply specific dates. Formal training is also not a requirement for practices.
  • The report states the practice did not have an ‘effective recruitment process to ensure that all staff were of suitable character’, when the only failing was that a verbal rather than a written reference was taken during the recruitment of one particular member of staff. All the other 24 members of staff had complete recruitment records.

The intervention from such a senior GPC member is embarassing as the CQC is set to roll out its new inspection regime following the pilots – which Dr Cunday’s practice was involved in – this week. The new regime will see practices displaying ‘Ofsted-style’ ratings in their waiting rooms and their website.

The CQC told Pulse that providers are ‘given the opportunity to raise any issue’ that they have with draft reports.

But Dr Cundy told Pulse: ‘From what I have seen Professor Field’s clipboard army is not fit for purpose. How dare CQC judge anyone when they can’t get their own house in order. 41 errors, not counting the dreadful grammar and typos,  in a 31 page report is pretty good going. From what I’ve seen its CQC that should be in special measures.’

A spokesperson for the CQC said: ‘CQC does not comment on draft reports. The report from this inspection will be published on our website in due course.

‘CQC has a comprehensive quality assurance process for reports, and a formal factual accuracy process in which providers are given the opportunity to raise any issues they may have with their inspection report at draft stage. This is considered by CQC before a final report is published. Where a provider disagrees with the evidence presented and/or the judgements made, they are therefore able to do so.

‘CQC is always keen to hear comments and suggestions about our work. CQC investigates every complaint it receives and uses feedback from complaints to ensure inspections and reports are delivered to the highest standards. Providers have an opportunity to raise concerns about the factual accuracy of inspection reports as part of our process, prior to any final inspection report being issued. All comments are reviewed and where applicable, reports are amended accordingly.’