This site is intended for health professionals only

GPC chair calls for end to CQC ‘Ofsted-style’ ratings

The GPC is calling on the CQC to drop its ‘Ofsted-style’ ratings in its strongest criticism of the regulator so far.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GPC, made the call in his speech to the LMCs Conference in London today, at the same time as telling the Government to drop its ‘pipe dream’ of seven-day services.

In a stormy speech today, Dr Nagpaul said that the CQC had ‘mushroomed into an industry of flawed performance management’.

He added that the CQC leaves practices living in ‘fear and threat’, adding that it takes away time that could be spent caring for patients.

As Pulse has already reported, Dr Nagpaul called for an abandonment of seven-day services, calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to ‘get real’.

But the major plea in his speech was around the CQC.

The GPC was successful in calling on the regulator to drop its publication of practices’ ‘risk ratings’, but the CQC has continued giving practices ratings of ‘outstanding’,’good’, ‘needs improvement’ and ‘inadequate’.

But Dr Nagpaul said today that these ratings are ‘not considered necessary’ in the devolved nations, so shouldn’t happen in England.

He said the Government must ‘end the punitive overregulation that’s suffocating general practice- amongst the top four reasons why GPs want to leave the profession.’

UK GPs were subject to ‘more scrutiny, performance management, and targets than anyother nation studied by the Commonwealth Fund’, even before the introduction of the CQC, he added.

He said: ‘It begs the question why England is spending hundreds of millions of pounds on an inspection regime not felt necessary in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Practices live in fear and threat, with days taken away from caring for patients to prepare for and endure inspections.

‘The problem is that CQC has mushroomed into an industry of flawed performance management. We managed to get rid of the shameful intelligent monitoring bands, but still have practice ratings without context and circumstance, and which misleads the public with crude proxies that demean the holistic care hard working GPs provide.

‘CQC needs to go back to basics of keeping registration simple, abandon ratings and plough the millions saved into patient services instead.’

He also said that the move to seven-day services would damage patient care.

He said: ‘The Government must halt it surreal obsession for practices to open seven days when there aren’t the GPs to even cope with current demands. It would damage quality care by spreading GPs so thinly, and replace continuity of care with impersonal shift-work, and will reduce our availability for older vulnerable patients.’