Exclusive Hundreds of GP practices are currently being subjected to ‘invalid’ CQC inspections, meaning they will have to face an extra visit from the regulator before April 2016, Pulse can reveal.
The practices affected include those selected to be inspected from June until October, who have not yet been informed, as well as the 200 practices being assessed between April and June in wave 1 of the pilot.
The CQC has said every practice will be inspected every two years, but the practices currently undergoing visits are facing an extra inspection before April 2016 because they will not receive the 42-point ratings being introduced by the new regime.
GPC has said it is in negotiations with the regulator over the duplication of visits, while LMC leaders have said the current inspections are ‘invalid’ and it is ‘grotesque’ that practices should have to endure a second round of inspection.
Practices being evaluated under the pilots are the first to undergo the new inspection regime devised by the chief inspector of primary care, Professor Steve Field, which includes a GP on every inspection team.
But the new inspection regime has already been criticised, with Pulse blogger and Guilford GP Dr Martin Brunet describing his visit as ‘the worst experience of my career’, while Pulse revealed that the CQC has had to use locums and untrained inspectors to ‘fill the gaps’
A spokesperson for the CQC told Pulse: ‘All GP practices will have been rated by April 2016. The inspections currently underway in wave one and wave two of will not be issuing a rating, so CQC will return to them (before April 2016) so that they can gain that rating.’
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GPC, said they were currently in negotiations with the regulator over the issue.
He said: ‘The GPC are in dialogue with CQC, and clearly what we don’t want to see are practices incurring the bureaucracy of duplication of inspections and the time that is taken away from the delivery of patient care.’
‘We will be in dialogue with CQC over this, if CQC believes their inspection pilots have been effective and have been of appropriate quality, then it would not be a sensible use of practice time, or CQC time, to actually incur repeat assessments.’
Dr Tony Grewal, medical director for Londonwide LMC and a GP in Hillingdon, told Pulse that it was ‘against natural justice’ that practices should be made to take part in invalid inspections.
Dr Grewal said: ‘I think it’s absolutely grotesque because the pilots are there, not to see whether the GPs are fit, but whether the inspection is fit. As long as the pilot shows the inspection is fit, then the GP has been inspected. And it’s grotesque that they should have to repeat that.’
‘It’s against natural justice. As it’s a pilot it has no validity in terms of a CQC requirement, so are practices entitled to refuse it? To say “no, you do your pilot somewhere else we’ll have a proper one”. Or in the alternative, are practices entitled to charge for their time?’
The new inspection teams can also include a professional inspector, a practice manager or nurse, as well as patient ‘experts by experience’.