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Needs improvement: CQC chief’s rating of his own organisation

The CQC is ‘not an outstanding organisation’, and there remains a ‘lot of work still to do’ for the regulator to reach the top rating of its own ratings scale, its chief executive David Behan has admitted.

Speaking at the Westminster Health Forum, Mr Behan said that the CQC was looking at new ways of inspecting providers, including inspecting hospital trusts on their use of resources, and explained its inspection regime that deems GP practices as ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ’requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’. 

Following the presentation, chief executive of social care enterprise Turning Point, Lord Victor Adebowale, asked him what was ‘on his own mind’ for the future.

Mr Behan responded: ‘We’ve got a big job to do. We have a lot of work still to do to get on top of the agenda that I’ve just laid out to you. We are not an outstanding organisation. We’ve got more work to do.’

The admission, on which Mr Behan did not elaborate further, comes amid mounting criticism of the organisation from GP leaders.

In June, the RCGP’s blueprint for general practice called for an ‘immediate review’ of the CQC’s inspection regime, which it said causes ‘bureaucracy, red tape and unnecessary workload’ for practices.

Later that month, the RCGP said there should be an ‘emergency pause’ in CQC inspections to relieve pressure on ‘crisis-hit’ practices and avoid risks to patient safety.

LMCs declared war on the CQC in May when, at their annual conference, they voted for the regulator to be decommissioned and its funding invested in frontline services.

In his opening speech to that conference, GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the CQC had ’mushroomed into an industry of flawed performance management’.

The CQC also came under heavy criticism from GP leaders last year when it published ’grossly misleading’ information on practices not yet inspected, via its ‘intelligent monitoring’ practice scoring system for prioritising inspections.

However, earlier this month, Professor Steve Field said in an exclusive interview with Pulse that he wants to work to reduce the burden of CQC inspections on GPs.