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CQC to pare GP registration ‘to the bone’

The Care Quality Commission is to pare requirements for GP registration ‘back to the bare bones' after the process for dentists and private GPs was beset by problems.

It has emerged some private GPs – 1,250 of whom have registered since October, some paying fees of £1,300 – stopped providing clinical services such as minor surgery and paediatrics because of the bureaucratic burden.

In April, the British Dental Association warned registration had been ‘shambolic' and ‘lurched from one crisis to another', and five months after the deadline 15% of dental applications are still outstanding.

But Victoria Howes, GP registration design team leader at the CQC, said GPs should not ‘draw direct parallels between dental and GP registration', following the Department of Health's postponement of registration of GPs until April 2013.

‘The way we did dental registration is not necessarily how we are going to do GPs. We want to use the [delay] to make improvements and engage with GPs. We are looking at what questions we ask, and whether they are all necessary. We're going to try and strip it right back to the bare bones.'

She added: ‘One of the biggest problems with dental registration was with criminal records bureau checks. For out-of-hours providers, we are asking if they are a GMC member and checking that, rather than asking for a CRB check.

‘For primary medical services we will be running a pilot on compliance inspections – we're thinking about every two years. We're piloting a slightly different approach to compliance, looking at a smaller number of standards rather than all 16. You would start with a small number and only look at other standards if there's a problem.'

Dr Jack Edmonds, a private GP in Harley Street and chair of the Independent Doctors' Federation, told Pulse registering with the CQC had proven ‘onerous, fiddly and repetitive': ‘I stopped doing any minor surgery because there was a huge disparity in workload.'

Dr Martin Scurr, a private GP in Kensington, central London, and chair of the IDF's GP committee, said: ‘We have had to truncate what we do. I know there are GPs who don't see children any more, and that's all because of registration.'

But a CQC spokesperson said: 'When GPs register with the CQC as primary medical services they will only be required to complete a single form, this will cover everything they do. The number of activates they register for will not affect the fee they have to pay.'

'When private GPs re-registered with the CQC under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 they too were required to fill in a single form declaring their compliance against the new standards.'