Practices found to be inadequate by the CQC will immediately be put into special measures, the regulator announced today.
The CQC said that there will no longer be a six-month period for practices to rectify problems before being put into special measures, although practices will still have a year before their registration is cancelled.
It has said that practices will have access to a range of support ‘at the earliest opportunity’, which is being developed alongside NHS England and the RCGP.
However, Pulse has previously reported that they could have to pay up to £5,000 to access such support.
The regulator first announced it was introducing ‘special measures’ for GP practices in August 2014.
It was originally proposed that practices will be placed in special measures after six months, and will be given another six months to improve before having their registration remove.
However, in a statement released today, it said: ‘CQC proposes that when it rates a general practice as inadequate overall – the practice will automatically be placed into special measures, opening the way to a package of support from NHS England.
‘If its rating has not improved within a year then CQC will cancel its registration. In those circumstances NHS England will ensure that patients registered at the practice are able to continue to access GP services.’
Prof Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice at the Care Quality Commission, said: ‘When we find that general practices are providing inadequate services, the public expects us to take action and our special measures regime will give practices clear deadlines to make the necessary improvements.’
Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, said: ‘It’s important that the first step is to try and identify the reasons that lead to these problems and try to resolve them. The special measures programme needs to involve LMCs as they can help practices address these problems.
‘This process can’t and shouldn’t be seen as simply a way to close practices but about solving problems they may have been trying to deal with for many years.’
The regulator released 50 reports last week, which found no practices to be given the rating of inadequate, although seven practices were told they required improvement.