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GPC funding body supports judicial review against CQC inspections

Exclusive The group that manages the GPC’s funding is supporting a judicial review against the CQC, arguing that its inspection process is not fair, equitable or ‘within the parameters of natural justice’, Pulse has learnt.

A letter from the General Practitioners Defence Fund to LMCs and GPC members revealed that the GPC was taking up the case of a practice that lost an appeal to the CQC about its inspection rating.

It said that, following legal advice, it would use this case to ‘ensure that the CQC process is set before the courts’.

This move comes after the Special LMCs Conference in January called on the GPC to look at ways GPs can lawfully withdraw from CQC regulation.

This represents the first concrete move by the GPC to challenge the CQC processes.

The letter, signed by GPDF treasurer Dr John Canning, said: ‘I am writing to inform you that the GPDF has undertaken to fund a Judicial Review concerning a CQC inspection.’

He said that the background to the case of the practice was ‘complex, and not for public comment at this stage’.

But, he added: ‘I am sure you agree that English GPs find the inspection regime of the CQC to be a heavy burden and one which takes time away from patient care.

‘In this context, the GPDF was made aware of a practice where the inspection report and, subsequently, the ensuing appeal/review process was, in our view, not managed appropriately by the CQC.’

He said the GPDF had taken legal advice. Following this, ‘the GPDF determined that this is a case where it has a responsibility to the GP community to ensure that the CQC process is set before the Courts for Judicial Review on the grounds that the CQC acted in a manner which is neither fair, equitable, reasonable nor operating within the parameters of natural justice.’

The application for the judicial review has been made in the name of the practice, which has not yet been disclosed.

He added: ‘It would not be appropriate to comment further during the Judicial process, but I trust you will agree that the potential risk associated with supporting our fellow practitioner and his practice is one which could only be managed on a national level and, perhaps, not by even the largest of LMCs.’

Pulse understands that the case concerns a practice in Derbyshire that was closed down by the CQC.

A CQC spokesperson said: ‘Our approach to regulation is proportionate and transparent. All providers have the right to appeal regulatory decisions’.