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CQC to restart in-person GP practice inspections from next month

access focused CQC

GP practices will be asked to welcome CQC inspectors again from 19 October, as the regulator has set the start date for its ‘transitional’ regulatory approach.

GP out-of-hours providers will be subject to the new-style inspections from the same date, which may or may not result in a new rating of the service.

Compared to the pause in inspections during the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, this represents a ‘strengthened’ but ‘flexible’ approach to regulation, the CQC said.

However, the ongoing pandemic means the CQC will not return to its fixed timetable of inspections due to ‘the pressures on providers and the risk of spreading infection’.

It also said that it is ‘unlikely’ it will return to normal frequency ‘in the near future’. 

The CQC will use its ‘remote monitoring’ system of using data and conversations with GP practices and out-of-hours providers to identify risk of unsafe care, prompting the inspections.

The CQC said that it will be able to re-rate services ‘in a limited number of cases’ following an inspection.

A joint statement from the regulator’s chief inspectors said: ‘As our inspections will be more targeted and focused around areas of risk, we may not always cover all aspects of our five key questions and our Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs). As a result, our inspections may not always lead to a change in rating for a service.’

If inspectors determine that the care given presents a ‘low level of risk’ to patients, no further action will be taken against the provider, the statement added.

The CQC launched its Emergency Support Framework (ESF) in response to the pandemic in May, which saw it phoning to check in with GP practices.

The chief inspectors said: ‘Throughout the pandemic, our regulatory role did not change. Our core purpose of keeping people safe was always driving our decisions.

‘However, as the risks from the pandemic change, we’re evolving our approach in a way that is both sensitive to the changing circumstances of providers, and that also puts people who use services at the centre of what we do.’

It added: ‘We will continue to adapt our transitional regulatory approach, and remain responsive as the situation changes. We’ll also be considering longer-term changes to how we regulate, which we’ll explore through engagement on our future strategy.’

The CQC also announced last month that it is piloting a new model of checking up on practices ‘without crossing the threshold’, although participation was voluntary.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Iain Chalmers 22 September, 2020 12:07 pm

Maybe not for long if full lockdown?

One assumes they have secret extra stash of Covid tests for the inspectors and if travel in/out area is banned how will F2F work?

Alvyn Bell 22 September, 2020 12:54 pm

GP practices will be asked to “welcome “CQC inspectors again

That’ll be a first

Alan Gleave 22 September, 2020 1:09 pm

Welcome with a cough

Komal Raj 22 September, 2020 1:45 pm

Can’t wait for them to come – while coughing patients are being seen. I’m sure their inspectors will like jt

Patrufini Duffy 22 September, 2020 2:28 pm

The high horse of CQC seems humdrum and a pre-covid antiquity. Doctors have better, more meaningful lives and purpose. Move out of their way please.

Malcolm Kendrick 22 September, 2020 3:35 pm

That light at the end of the tunnel

Richard Mitchell 22 September, 2020 4:49 pm

Can’t wait!!

Christine Paterson 22 September, 2020 6:44 pm

After the PM latest instructions regarding new restrictions possibly until next spring I cannot see how CQC can justify restarting inspections.

Jahan Mahmoodi 22 September, 2020 7:31 pm


Before your new website, an article like this would have attracted pages and pages of comments which are sometimes a better reason to tune in, than the actual article.

Please let people back in, so we can see some lively comments!

Christine Harvey 22 September, 2020 7:45 pm

Haven’t they heard Boris today – work from home!

Sheena Kulshrestha 22 September, 2020 8:28 pm

Totally the wrong time in the wrong place. With a second wave looming, is it wise?
They talk about risks. Wouldn’t things be more risky if they take our focus away from clinical care?

Graham Hullah 22 September, 2020 11:32 pm

Not necessary, not appropriate and not welcome

Chris Pattullo 23 September, 2020 12:10 am

Well, thank God CQC are back. Finally we can return to the serious business of writing meaningless protocols that nobody will ever read instead of wasting precious time on consulting patients.

Vinci Ho 23 September, 2020 5:23 am

Sigh ! ‘transitional’ regulatory approach.
This government is in love with this word ‘transitional’ , init? Remember we are still in ‘transitional period‘ until end of December?
I suppose the ‘worthiness and usefulness’ of this organisation needs to be proven .?Yes ,again :- crap like ‘values for money’ , ‘risks to public’ etc . (I would argue values NOT for money and posing risks to public was the government itself !)
All I would say to those working in CQC right now is the motto I set for my colleagues :
(1) Cut the red tape
(2) Improvise with flexibility
(3) Most importantly , listen carefully to the feelings of frontline colleagues ……….

Carl Hutson 23 September, 2020 8:30 am

Questionable priorities

Carl Hutson 23 September, 2020 8:35 am

PS pulse’s website changes have emasculated commentary in a rather sinister way.
Bye y’all.

Iain Chalmers 23 September, 2020 8:36 am

CQC came to our area recently and inspected a care home. Went to town including patient not had annual Learning Disability bloods and check from GP. Home pointed out recent Covid issues and his challenging behaviour but undaunted they demanded it was done.

Had a “right paddy” in our nurses room and whole process was abandoned.

Thanks CQC for “f*** **l” with this level of thinking probably demand he’s sedated to undertake!

Simon Taylor 23 September, 2020 9:17 am

Ah, the gentle pitter-patter of Jackboots in the Surgery.
How we’ve missed it so.

T F 23 September, 2020 9:26 am

I’ll be seeing them with full PPE in my Covid room.

Julian Howells 23 September, 2020 12:02 pm

Great-I have been asked to do an appraisal and now the CQC are coming. What happened to the Thursday clapping?

Merlin Wyltt 23 September, 2020 12:09 pm

Oh dear-what a shambles

Patrufini Duffy 23 September, 2020 2:50 pm

You’re only allowed onto the premises with a valid negative swab in the last 6 hours.

Penelope Smith 23 September, 2020 7:34 pm

CQC is out dated and needs to go rather than ‘resume’
This is just plain crazy making jobs for those who should be better employed ‘elsewhere’
Gps and our leaders are just too weak and compliant. They need to be told quite strongly that we have better things to do.

Turn out The lights 23 September, 2020 10:25 pm

You could ask them to isolate for week before the visit!For anonymous comment change you name on the account with your GMC Number.You want to slow the stasi down when they are looking at the comments.The anonymous comment make us more frank and less scared of being targeted by the thought police Pulse.Not all of us have the luxury of being able to jump into a comfy retirement on a 1995 pension scheme.

John Glasspool 24 September, 2020 7:44 am

Personally, I would be amused to see the CQQuislings get Covid from their inspections. But then I am a bit warped.

John Glasspool 24 September, 2020 7:45 am

Oh, and tell them to get a letter from their GP confirming that they are Covid-free.