This site is intended for health professionals only

GPs to be given 48 hours’ notice of CQC inspections

GPs will be given 48 hours’ notice before a CQC inspection and will be tested on five outcomes, the CQC have announced.

Results from the CQC’s pilots of GP practice inspection- due to being in April - found that practices given longer than 48 hours notice for an inspection often produced unnecessary documents, improved their premises and hired extra staff.

As part of the pilots the notice given to practices ranged from no notice to five days. Ms Vicky Howes, design team leader for GP registration at the CQC said practices given five days notice for an inspection tended to over-prepare.

She said: ‘Any longer than 48 hours and GPs were spending time doing unnecessary work. We don’t expect GPs to do any preparation.’

She added that practice will be measured against five outcomes to be decided by the inspectors, but inspectors will be able to ‘add on’ an outcome if they are made aware of a specific issue.

The pilots also identified that CQC staff will require more training what language to use when speaking to staff and patients, and when to approach patients.

The CQC found they also needed to do some more work around whether to approach patients before or after they go in for a consultation, whether the inspector approaches patients or waits in a room and ask patients self select to answer questions and how receptionists can help with this.

They added that they also need to work harder to involve other stakeholders such as the LMC and patient participation groups.

Ms Howes said the CQC was pleased with the results of the pilot, which included feedback from all practices involved.

She said: ‘We were very pleased with the pilots and the feedback received. GPs saw that we spent the majority of time speaking with patients and staff, not sitting in a room going through policy boxes. GPs didn’t need to block out their whole day.’

The pilot inspections involved 12 inspectors and 42 voluntary practices across different PCTs and included a range of surgeries, from very large partnerships to single handed practices.