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GPC to campaign for end of CQC inspections for struggling practices

The GPC will campaign for struggling practices not to have to go through a CQC inspection, as the first step of its attempt to get the whole regime replaced.

Speaking at the annual LMCs Conference, GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that CQC inspections have been the ’final nail in the coffin’ for some struggling practices.

Pulse reported last week that a practice had been closed down by the CQC while waiting for funding promised as part of NHS England’s vulnerable practice fund.

The GPC has been calling for the CQC regime to be abolished since the BMA’s annual representatives meeting voted for the motion last June.

The body that funds the GPC – the GP Defence Fund – is funding a judicial review against the CQC, while this week the GPC released a report showing that practices with poor CQC ratings receive less funding.

Dr Nagpaul told the conference: ’There are two things I am going to be calling for to happen immediately. One, that any practice that is requiring support, a practice that is struggling, should not have a CQC inspection. It is the last thing it needs, to be judged when it needs support.

’We have seen case examples of practices basically on the brink actually closing purely because the final nail in the coffin was a CQC visit.’

His second short-term demand was for practices, in certain circumstances, to be given time to improve before being given their CQC rating.

He said: ’It is wrong in my view, that a practice that is found wanting because it didn’t have the right organisational processes, employment processes, should actually be rated.

‘The practice should be allowed a period of time, a month or two, to get it systems right, and then give it a proper rating of being good. Don’t tar it on the basis of a single day’s visit.’

But he said that in the longer term, the goal was to have the whole CQC process replaced.

He said: ’The Forward View completely misses the point about CQC and we are determined that this pernicious regime and the process is replaced. I genuinely believe that the current system is actually undermining quality and safety, because it is actually taking GPs and staff away from caring for patients.

‘It is also, as I said earlier in January, a climate where one in four practices are too scared to speak out about pressures in their own practices, so it has to be replaced. The biggest risk to safety is the environment GPs work in. That environment needs to change and that is what we need to push for.’