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Hundreds of GPs fail on CQC premises standards

Hundreds of GPs will have to spend more money on improving the quality of their premises and infection control at their practices in order to avoid closure, the CQC has revealed as it released figures that showed a fifth were non-compliant with at least one of its standards.

In figures that reveal the scale of non-compliance for the first time, the CQC said 20% of GP practices that applied to be registered - 1,545 primary care providers - declared non-compliance with at least one of the CQC’s 16 essential standards.

Premises and infection control were the most problematic areas, with 810 declaring non-compliance on premises and 863 for infection control.

A CQC spokesperson said these rates of non-compliance were expected from the registration pilots they ran at practices, and that any area of non-compliance had been checked by an assessor.

Pulse revealed last month that GP practices have spent an average of more than £2,500 on preparing to register with the CQC, despite the regulator insisting it does not expect practices to spend any additional funds.

But these results indicate that many practices will have to spend more money on revamping their premises to comply with CQC standards.

Pulse reported at the beginning of the month that 7,563 out of the 7,607 providers - 99.4% - that applied to be registered by the 1 April deadline were registered in time, though seven practices have been issued closure notices.

GP practices will now be required to follow through with their action plans to resolve non-compliance agreed with the CQC at the time of registration.

A CQC spokesperson said: ‘This figure is in line with the findings of our pilot last year and was therefore used as part of our workforce and capacity planning for the registration of this sector.’

The CQC has also announced that Professor Nigel Sparrow, medical director for revalidation at the RCGP and a GP in Nottingham, will be joining them as the new National Professional Advisor for Primary Care, to replace Professor David Haslam who is now the chair of NICE.

Last week the CQC also released its strategy and purpose for the next three years, which confirmed that when inspecting providers, practices will be judged on five domains, with inspectors asking whether practices are safe, effective, caring, well-led and responsive to people’s needs.

In an effort to respond to patient complaints, inspectors will look for positive and negative comments about practices on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. They added that they would introduce a more ‘robust’ registration test for primary care service providers, though added that GPs already registered would not have to go through this process.

Dr Rob Barnett, medical secretary of Liverpool LMC said that the results reflected that some GP practices are in premises that do not meet current standards.

He said: ‘There will be practices that are historically in premises which don’t meet certain standards. If they became practices now they wouldn’t get through. But they are where they are, they’re providing a service and if they can get around the regulation then they should be fine.

‘For example, if you have a problem with access, if people have to walk up flights of stairs to get to the practice then this might be a problem for a patient in a wheelchair. It’s not a problem if you agree to visit that patient at home.

‘GPs shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money- depending on the problem- they should be able to find a way around it.’

‘With Infection control, it clearly depends on what the issue is. We all have a duty to provide care in an infection-free environment. Most of the documentation on this was written for hospitals. So while clearly you can’t have carpets in a room where you’re carrying out hip replacements, it may be ok in a room where you hold face to face consultations.

‘GP practices aren’t hospitals and they shouldn’t be treated like them. I would imagine common sense will prevail on this.’

OutcomeNumber of primary care service providers that declared themselves non-compliant with the outcome
Respecting and involving people who use services291
Consent to care and treatment211
Care and welfare of people who use services258
Meeting nutritional needs58
Cooperating with other providers196
Safeguarding people who use services from abuse523
Cleanliness and infection control863
Management of medicines142
Safety and suitability of premises810
Safety, availability and suitability of equipment237
Requirements relating to workers269
Supporting worker217
Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision230

Source: CQC