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CQC to monitor GP practices through a ‘remote’ system during pandemic

The CQC is to move to a system of ‘remote’ monitoring of health and care services during the outbreak of coronavirus, following its decision to suspend routine inspections.

The regulator was unable to reveal the exact details of the approach, but said it was being designed to ‘give assurance regarding safety and quality of care’.

In a weekly update to GP practices sent today, it said it was currently working on a new ‘interim methodology’ to underpin the system.

In the past, the CQC has attempted to carry out inspections less frequently for services rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by requiring providers to submit data to the regulator for monitoring.

However this new online system, due to launch in April 2019, never went ahead and was instead replaced temporarily by an approach involving ‘structured phone calls’.

The regulator previously said the phone calls were not another form of inspection, but a way of discussing quality based on the data the practice would have supplied via the online system.

Last week on 16 March the CQC announced it was stopping routine inspections, with immediate effect, following pressure from general practice and other sectors.

In a weekly email update sent to primary care providers today (25 March), the CQC said: ‘We are currently working to develop an interim methodology which will involve a shift towards other, remote methods to give assurance regarding safety and quality of care.’

A CQC spokesperson told Pulse: ‘As well as suspending routine inspections at this challenging time, we are working with partners to develop a targeted approach that will allow us to provide an oversight of risk and safety issues during the outbreak and share providers’ concerns with the wider system – without needing to rely on physically visiting services.

‘The revised methodology to support this will shift the emphasis from inspection in each of the sectors that we regulate, and we will be talking to providers, stakeholders and the public to ensure that we can continue to maintain our oversight of the health and social care system to focus help where it is needed.’