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GPs to register up to 15 separate services as CQC workload spirals

By Lilian Anekwe

Exclusive: GPs face even greater workload than dentists under the Care Quality Commission's registration scheme after it emerged practices would have to register extra services they provide under its complex red tape.

Practices will have to register each of up to 15 types of service they may provide, including family planning clinics, minor surgery and screening services, Pulse has learned.

Advisers to dentists warned of up to 90 hours' of preparatory work, but the latest revelations raise the prospect that GP practices could face an even heavier workload, because of the greater variety of services they provide.

The CQC is consulting on payments but said it was unlikely to apply a separate fee to each service. But the news will still worry GPs, after the British Dental Association, whose members have just completed the process, claimed it had been 'shambolic' and warned GPs of 'severe stress' ahead.

The CQC expects practices to register 15 'regulated activities', with GPs who fit interuterine devices or work for out-of-hours providers needing to declare and register each activity. Every practice will have to register several times at least, because 'treatment of disease', 'diagnosis and screening', 'medical advice provided remotely' and 'nursing care' are all counted as separate activities.

The CQC has warned GPs they will need to make sure they complete the application process by Christmas to be registered before 1 April, 2012, after the BDA warned many of its members had missed this year's deadline.

All practice staff will need criminal record checks, with GPs requiring enhanced checks approved and countersigned by the CQC. All practices with more than one GP will also need a registered manager – a GP or practice manager - who assumes day-to-day responsibility for compliance.

Gemma Rafferty, regulatory policy officer at the CQC, told last week's Primary Care Commissioning event in London new guidance on registration was due in the coming weeks – and indicated the regulator might make some concessions to nervous GPs. Last week, Pulse reported the CQC had backed down from controversial plans to force GPs to register every branch surgery separately.

'GPs will have to register for each of 15 regulated activities and complete an enhanced CRB check that is countersigned by the CQC. At the moment we are looking at how to make that work,' Ms Rafferty said.

Dr Geoffrey Schrecker, a GP in Sheffield, who has been involved in the CQC registration of care homes, said: 'I don't think it will contribute anything and will cost a lot of money. I'm dreading the application process. The more time I spend doing paperwork the less time I can spend with patients.'

Services requiring registration

1. Personal care
2. Accommodation for people who require nursing or personal care
3. Accommodation for people who require treatment for substance misuse
4. Accommodation and nursing or personal care in the further education
5. Treatment of disease, disorder or injury
6. Assessment or medical treatment for people detained under the Mental
Health Act 1983
7. Surgical procedures
8. Diagnostic and screening procedures
9. Management of supply of blood and blood derived products
10. Transport services, triage and medical advice provided remotely
11. Maternity and midwifery services
12. Termination of pregnancies
A new system of registration The scope of registration March 2010 15
13. Services in slimming clinics
14. Nursing care
15. Family planning services.

Source: Care Quality Commission

GPs to register up to 15 separate services as CQC workload spirals